Eleanor M. Gehrke, 94, of Sumner, died Saturday, June 6, 2015, at her rural Sumner home.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at St. John Lutheran Church in Sumner with Rev. William Runaas, Jr. officiating. Interment will follow at St. John Lutheran Cemetery. Friends may call from 9:30 a.m. to service time at the church on Wednesday. Memorials may be made in her name to St. John Lutheran Church in Sumner. Becker-Milnes Funeral Home in Sumner is assisting the family.
Eleanor May Gehrke, daughter of George and Ella Greening Schortau, was born April 11, 1921, near Westgate, Iowa. She was baptized May 21, 1921, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Westgate and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sumner. She attended Sumner High School and graduated with the class of 1938. Eleanor spent some time in Chicago, Illinois. She was married to Bernard Gehrke on March 26, 1940, at St. John Lutheran Church in Sumner. They had three sons and one daughter. Eleanor helped with farming while raising her family. She worked for thirty years at Sumner Packing Co. processing eggs. She also worked at a floral shop, Meadowbrook Country Club in Sumner, and was a care-giver for eleven years to the three sons of Gary and Laurie Stauffer. Eleanor enjoyed the outdoors and took pride in her vegetable and flower garden and her land. She enjoyed square dancing, country music, and especially the many hours she spent making quilts for her family.
Eleanor is survived by three children, Barbara Jo Gehrke of Waterloo, Ronald “Butch” (Peggy) Gehrke of St. Charles, Illinois, and Rodney “Skip” Gehrke of Lynchburg, Missouri; a daughter-in-law, Erika Gehrke of Denver, Iowa; seven grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; thirty nieces and nephews; and three sisters, Helen Rapp of Waterloo, Adele (Jerome) Hohmann of Wheaton, Illinois, and Alyce (Fred) Pink of Peoria, Arizona.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her oldest son, Richard Gehrke; one sister in infancy and sisters Ivah and Floyd Lawless, Mildred and J.D. Wilson, and Dorothy Sommars; brother-in-law Otto Rapp, one niece, two nephews, her ex-husband, Bernard and his four sisters and one brother.