|Birth: ||Dec. 24, 1922|
|Death: ||Sep. 16, 2009|
Richard Heldke died Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, working in his raspberry patch.
Richard was born Dec. 24, 1922, in Rice Lake, to Gustav and Elsie (Gerland) Heldke. After graduating from Rice Lake High School, he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin. He interrupted his studies to serve in the Navy during World War II, where he served as a radio man and held the rank of petty officer, second class. He served in the Pacific theater and participated in the liberation of the island of Saipan.
After being honorably discharged, he completed his studies at the University of Wisconsin, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in dairy industry.
Richard returned home to Rice Lake, where he joined his family's business, the Rice Lake Creamery Co. During his many years with the firm, he served in a variety of capacities, beginning his career by driving an ice cream truck, moving through butter making (he was a Wisconsin state licensed butter maker and butter grader), bookkeeping and ultimately managing the business when it was sold to Consolidated Badger Cooperative.
Richard was a dedicated member of his community who regarded service to others as his moral commitment as well as his genuine love. He was a faithful, deeply active member of Trinity Lutheran Church from the time of the church's founding. During a lifetime spent in Rice Lake and Barron County, he was active in a host of civic organizations, serving as 4-H leader, member and president of the Rice Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, member of the Lakeview Medical Center Auxiliary; member of the Citizens Advisory Board and of the city's tree committee. In his last decades, he became active in the Golden K, where he was an avid tender of petunias, Christmas-tree salesman and seller of popcorn at summertime concerts. In 1999, the Chamber of Commerce gave him the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for his contributions to the community.
A hardworking, modest man, he was deeply admired and loved by his family, who knew they could count on him for steady advice and counsel about life's challenges - be they mechanical, financial or moral. His friends knew him as a steadfast man who could be counted on to do whatever he promised - and a little bit more.
After his family, his church and his community, perhaps next in line for Richard's devotion was his raspberry patch, whose bounty he shared each summer with friends and neighbors. Richard loved the natural world, particularly feeding the birds - and attempting to outsmart the neighborhood squirrels.
He is survived by his wife, Carol (Coleman) Heldke; three daughters, Barbara Heldke (Jay Benjamin) of Red Hook, N.Y., Sybil Heldke of Milwaukee, and Lisa Heldke (Peg O'Connor) of St. Peter, Minn.; by two grandchildren, Emma and Max Gehrman; and by a sister, Ruth Fallis, of San Leandro, Calif.
Funeral services will be held 2 p.m. today at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rice Lake. Karen Johnson will officiate, and interment will be in Orchard Beach Cemetery, where military rites will be accorded by the Rice Lake Veterans Center Honor Guard. Friends may call one hour prior to the services today at the church.
Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire WI
Gustav Heldke (1885 - 1940)
Elsie Gerland Heldke (1901 - 1930)
Carol M Coleman Heldke (1924 - 2010)*
Orchard Beach Cemetery
Maintained by: Nancy (Cowley) Weise
Originally Created by: James Seidelman
Record added: Oct 02, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42616447
A World War II veteran who served as a Petty Officer Second Class and radioman in the U.S. Navy.|
Added: Oct. 2, 2009