Gerald E. Bethke, 85, passed away at Franciscan Villa in South Milwaukee on Sunday, September 27, 2009.
Gerald was born in Racine on December 29, 1923, to Emil and Martha (nee, Weitkum) Bethke. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1942 until 1964, serving in the Pacific. Gerald married the former Dolores Keefe on June 17, 1950, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He was employed by the City of Racine Waste Water for over 36 years, retiring in 1986. He was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the German Club, City of Racine 20 Year Club and a life member of V.F.W. Post 1391. Gerald loved to travel, including several times a year to Las Vegas. He also was an avid skier and Packer fan but, most of all, biking was his passion. Gerald biked across the United States on two occasions as well as biked throughout Europe.
Gerald is survived by his wife, Dolores Bethke; sons, Daniel Bethke of Montello, William (Charlene) Bethke of Muskego and Mark (Cherie) Bethke of Racine; and daughter, Laura Bethke of Redondo Beach, CA; grandchildren, Sara, Kelly and Christine; and his sister, Marcia (William) Huck of Racine. Gerald is also survived by other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Marvin Bethke.
Mass for Gerald will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1100 Erie St., on Thursday, October 1, 2009, at 11 a.m. celebrated by Rev. Esteban Redolad. Inurnment will take place at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Wednesday evening from 4 until 7 p.m. Memorials may be directed to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church or the Racine Art Museum.
The family would like to thank Dr. Michael Mullane and the staff at Wheaton Franciscan All Saints for all of their care and compassion.
Purath-Strand Funeral Home & Crematory
3915 Douglas Ave., Racine (262) 639-8000