Gerald (Jerry) Arthur Henke, age 89, of Blue Earth, died Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at Goldfinch Memory Care in Fairmont, Minnesota.
Funeral services will be held Saturday May 7, 2022, 11AM at Hope United Methodist Church with Rev. Lee Miller officiating. Visitation will be one hour before the service. Burial with military honors will be at Riverside Cemetery in Blue Earth.
Jerry was born December 31, 1931, in Blue Earth, the son of George and Mabel (Skogen) Henke. Jerry spent his childhood in Blue Earth and graduated from Blue Earth High School. Following graduation, Jerry enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 9, 1952.
Before leaving southern Minnesota to serve, Jerry rekindled a friendship which began many years earlier (in grade school), with Evelyn Park of Winnebago. From his Army post, he and Evelyn began exchanging letters and their friendship blossomed into a lifelong love. Jerry and Evelyn were married on September 23,1953 while he was on leave from the Army. Upon returning to Blue Earth, they rented their first apartment. It became home for the happy couple as they welcomed their first son, Steven in 1954. In 1958, they purchased their house in Blue Earth. Their family quickly grew to include four more sons, Craig, David, Dale, and Jon. There were so many wonderful years lived in that home always filled to the rafters with love, laughter, activities, sweet memories and BOYS!
Jerry and Evelyn’s marriage was a wonderful partnership. They did everything together – caring for their young family, encouraging and supporting their school and church activities, sports, and lots of outdoor adventures!
Jerry was a faithful member of First United Methodist Church and later, Hope United Methodist Church. He was always ready to help wherever he was needed, whatever the project was, Jerry was truly a man with a servant’s heart.
Jerry worked for the Blue Earth Valley Telephone Company for 41 years, retiring in 1997.
He was always interested in his community. He contributed by serving as a member of the Blue Earth City Council, American Legion, and the Royal Chiselers Woodcarvers Club.
Jerry was also an avid gardener. Following his retirement, he worked part time at Gartzke’s Greenhouse. He grew a large garden each year and gave away most of the produce to family, friends, and neighbors in the community.
Jerry and Evelyn became loyal fans of the local sports teams when their sons were involved. This interest continued long after their sons graduated, married and added children and grandchildren of their own to the family. They were given the honor of being named Fans of the Year by the local Sports Boosters club.
Jerry and Evelyn loved each other, their sons and their wives and all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was always so excited and proud to hear of the grandchildren’s accomplishments! He will be forever remembered. We will hold him in our memories and close in our hearts forever.
Jerry is survived by his sons, Steven (Nancy) of Baxter; Craig (Robin) of North Mankato; Dale (Lynda) of Blue Earth; Jon (Erica) of Brainerd; daughter-in-law, Christine Henke Kvasnicka of Bloomington, MN; 11 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife Evelyn; parents; son David; granddaughters Emma Grace Henke and Christine Elizabeth Henke; sisters Alice Mae Erdmann, Mildred Nesbit, Elaine Weiderholt, and Marilyn Meyering; and brother Jerome Henke.
Memorials may be directed to Hope United Methodist Church or Mayo Clinic Health System Hospice—Fairmont and the Alzheimer’s Association in Gerald’s name.