Alfred Hanke Jr.
Jan. 28, 1929 — Jan. 12, 2018
Alfred Hanke Jr., 88 of Helenville, passed away Friday, January 12, 2018, at Sylvan Crossings of Jefferson.
He was the eldest child of Elvera (nee Thompson) and Alfred Gottlieb Hanke. He was born in Waukesha on January 28, 1929. He attended high school at Northwestern Preparatory School in Watertown. After graduation in 1946, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he received training in radar operations. In July of 1950, he was sent to the Korean conflict where he saw action from the Pusan perimeter in the south to the Yalu River in the north. During an attack on the Suwon Air Force base, Al remained at his radar station to guide planes to landing. For this act he was awarded a medal for bravery.
Before leaving for Korea, he was engaged to Barbara Lee Isham, whom he had met after a baseball game at the Milk Jug, where she worked near Goerkee’s Corner in Brookfield. Al and Barb married in 1953 and had four children. They set up homes in San Antonio, Texas, Milwaukee, Franklin, Tucson, Ariz., New Berlin, and finally, in Helenville. Here they bought land and began a dairy farm, a lifelong dream of his. In addition to dairying, Al worked in maintenance at Bethesda Lutheran Home in Watertown, where he became quite popular with the residents. After retirement in 1991, Al and Barb spent their days raising chickens and growing and selling produce at various farmers’ markets. Al and Barb were active members of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Helenville. They derived great joy from taking care of the flowers around the church for many years. Al loved to socialize and rehearse his repertoire of favorite jokes. He cherished the opportunity to fly on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2015 along with many of his fellow veterans.
He is survived by his sister Arleene Fuller of Phoenix, Ariz.; his children, Mike (Cathy) Hanke of Green Bay, Nannette (Dave) Farris of Jeannette, Pa., Natalie (Rick) Meyers-Hanke of Iola and Laura (Jeff) Ott of Helenville; his 10 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.
Al was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Barbara; and his brother Stewert.
The family would like to express their appreciation to St. Luke’s Hospital of Milwaukee, Edgerton Hospital, Rainbow Hospice, the staff at Sylvan Crossing, and the Thursday night sheepshead group at Fairview apartments.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” (Revelations 14:13) A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23, at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Helenville with the Rev. Mark Swanson presiding. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Burial will take place following the service.
Olsen-Gibson Funeral Home is caring for the family. To place an online condolence, please visit www.olsen-gibson.com.