John H. “Farmer John” Wilke, 85, Pittsville, went home to be with the Lord and to join his beloved Susie on Monday, November 20, 2017 at his home. John spent his last days surrounded by his children and sharing his cherished memories.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at St. Joachim Catholic Church, Pittsville, with Rev. Malaiyappan Amalanathan officiating. Serving as Pallbearers will be some of John’s Grandsons: Michael Riedel, Logan Wilke, Christopher Wesely, Colton Wilke, Nicholas Campbell, Jordan Wilke, Hunter Wilke and Caleb Weinfurter. Military rights will be conducted by the American Legion Post 153 at the church following the service. Burial will take place in the parish cemetery at a later date. The visitation will be held on Friday from 4-7:30 pm at Buchanan/Rembs Funeral Home in Pittsville and on Saturday from 10 am until services at St. Joachim’s. A rosary service will be held at 7 p.m.
John was born on July 14, 1932 in Dorchester, WI, the son of George and Agnes (Weber) Wilke. He was educated and graduated from Loyal High School in 1950 and then attended the University of Wisconsin Farm short course in Madison. He worked for Rollohome in Marshfield before entering the U.S. Army in 1952. He served during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in November of 1954. During his time in the military he served as a mailman and military clerk.
John married the love of his life, Regina “Susie” Hokamp on May 14, 1955 at St. Joachim Catholic Church in Pittsville, Wisconsin. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with friends and family in 2005 prior to Susie’s passing in 2006.
John and Susie lived and farmed in the Town of LaValle until 1960. John also hauled milk for the LaValle Creamery and ran a portable feed grinding truck for Bob Meyer. In 1960 they purchased the Hokamp family farm and John began working at the Nekoosa Edwards Paper Mill. In February 1961 they moved to Pittsville where John and Susie also farmed, both dairy and later beef cattle. During his time at the paper mill, he held jobs as a machine helper, sulfite helper, lapman, and laborer in shipping. John transferred to the Port Edwards Mill in 1963 and spent the rest of his career in the shipping department where he held jobs as fork truck operator, pick up man, car bracer, jumbo scaler, and checker. He became head scaler in 1982 until his retirement in 1990.
John enjoyed spending time at the cabin in Springstead, WI. Over the years he made many friends in the area. He had two gardens and shared his bountiful harvest with many friends and neighbors. Some were so grateful that they named a burger on their menu the “Farmer John Burger” as they topped it with tomatoes and lettuce from his garden. He also enjoyed watching and feeding the wildlife and birds as well as hunting and fishing. John loved working on Sudoku puzzles and watching his favorite television shows. John was a member of the American Legion Post 153 of Pittsville.
John is survived by his 11 children, 23 grandchildren, and 7 1/2 great grandchildren; Judy (Tom) Riedel, Lori (Josh) Woodman and Michael (Kanoe) Riedel; Joe Wilke, Dustin (Staci) Wilke, Allison (Scott) LeMond, and Logan Wilke (Marissa); Jane (Steve) Wesely, Aubrey Wesely (Travis), Mindy Wesely (fiancé Brandon), Christopher (Jennifer) Wesely, Olivia (Jon) Chasteen, and Bradley Wesely; Jim Wilke; Jerry (Kathy) Wilke, Autumn Wilke (Alesha), Colton (Rebecca) Wilke, Kyle Wilke (Alexandra), Summer Wilke; John (Kerri) Wilke; Jay (Penny) Wilke, Nicholas Campbell; Jodi (Amy) Wilke, Jordan (Danielle) Wilke and Taylor Wilke; Jack (Kari) Wilke, Hunter, Trace, and Tristan Wilke; Jesse Wilke; Jo Ann (Chad) Weinfurter, Caleb, Cooper, and Caden Weinfurter. Great grandchildren: Elias, Sirus and Skye Woodman; Renaud LeMond; Colbie Wesely; Luke Chasteen; Kelsie and ? Wilke.
He is further survived by brothers and sisters, Mary Ann (Donald) Lindner, Lucille (Gerald) Jensen, Charles Wilke, Edith (Dale) Palacek, Dorothy (Marvin) Raasch, and sister-in-law Irene Wilke.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Susie, two brothers, Melvin and Franklin, and one infant sister.
Memorials may be designated in John’s name to the Hope Lodge in Marshfield, House of the Dove in Marshfield or Ascension Health at Home-Hospice Care.
The family would like to thank the Marshfield Clinic Heart Failure Center, Sharon Meyer-P.A., and Ascension Hospice Care. We are grateful for the compassionate care that you provided to Dad.
Condolences may be sent on-line to www.rembsfh.com