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Norman E. Gehrke, 77, of Brownton

Norman Gehrke
Norman Elmer Gehrke, 77, of Brownton, died Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, at the Hutchinson Health Hospital in Hutchinson.
 
Memorial  services were held Tuesday, Dec. 29, at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Hutchinson with the Rev. Paul Baker officiating. Paul Cravens was the organist. Congregational hymns were “Borning Cry,” “All The Way My Savior Leads Me” and “Because He Lives.”
 
Urn bearers were Mr. Gehrke’s grandchildren, Jacob and Laura Popelka, Katie and Allison Marcus and Rebecca and Matthew Harder. 
 
Interment was in the Glencoe City Cemetery in Glencoe. Military honors were by Brownton American Legion Post 143.
 
Norman Elmer Gehrke was born Aug. 25, 1938, in Glencoe, the son of Elmer and Laura (Witte) Gehrke. He was baptized as an infant in 1938 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Penn Township, rural Brownton, and was confirmed in his faith on March 6, 1952, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Brownton. He was educated in Brownton, and was a graduate of the Brownton High School class of 1956.
 
Mr. Gehrke entered active military service in the U.S. Army National Guard in September 1955, and served his country for eight years. He received an honorable discharge on Aug. 31, 1963, and achieved the rank of Sergeant E-5.
 
On May 12, 1962, he was united in marriage to Donna Mae Huepenbecker at Church of Peace in Glencoe. Their marriage was blessed with three daughters, Janet, Barbara and Sandra. The couple resided in Brownton for a year, then moved to Hutchinson. They moved to Lake Marion in 1965. The couple shared 53 years of marriage.
 
Mr. Gehrke started out as a masonry contractor and later owned his business. He also was employed with the 3M Company in Hutchinson and retired in 1996 with 31 years of service.
 
Mr. Gehrke was a member of Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Hutchinson, where he was a trustee and sang in the choir. He also was a member of Brownton American Legion Post 143, Guardian Lodge #149, Zuhrah Shriners, the McLeod County Historical Society, Brownton Rod and Gun Club, Habitat for Humanity, Brownton Lions Club, McLeod County Sheriff’s Posse, the Western Mounted Paraders Saddle Club and the Saturday Night Cruisers Car Club. He also was the restoration chairman for the Brownton Area Civic Center, where he helped with fundraising, and also was on the building committee for the Brownton Community Center.
 
Mr. Gehrke enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, traveling, woodworking and car restoration. He loved going to his daughters’ and grandchildren’s activities. He was a proud member of the Brownton community. He especially cherished spending time with his family, grandchildren and friends.
 
He is survived by his wife, Donna Mae Gehrke of Brownton; daughters and their husbands, Janet and Don Popelka of Glencoe, Barbara and Arlen Marcus of Woodbury and Sandra and David Harder of Burnsville; grandchildren, Jacob and Laura Popelka, Katie and Allie Marcus and Rebecca and Matthew Harder; many other relatives and friends.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Laura Gehrke; and sisters and brothers-in-law, Alpha and Fred Rosenow and Ethel and David Decker.
 
Arrangements were with the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson. Online obituaries and guest book are available at www.hantge.com.