Gordon E. Praefke, 82

Gordon E. Praefke was born to eternal life on Nov. 27, 2011, at the 
age of 82 on his farm, Equus Paradise, in West Bend.

A celebration of Gordonís life will be held at Advent Lutheran Church 
located at W63 N642 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, on Friday, Dec. 9, at 
6 p.m. The family will receive friends on Friday, at the church from 
3 p.m. until the time of the service. The Rev. Dr. Janis J. Kinens 
will be presiding.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Washington County Habitat for 
Humanity or to Advent Lutheran Church are appreciated.
For online condolences, please visit www.Mueller-funeralhome.com.

Mueller Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the family.

Gordon was born to his earthly life on Feb. 7, 1929, in Milwaukee. 
Growing up at 3286 N. 47th St., Milwaukee, he graduated high school 
from Boys Tech. From there, the family moved to a cattle ranch in 
Bellvue, Colo.

While spending a couple of years on the ranch and study at Colorado 
State University, he was drafted by the U.S. Army. After basic 
training in Georgia, Gordon was stationed in Japan, where he fixed 
tracked and untracked vehicles for the Korean War. Serving his 
country for two years and making rank of corporal, Gordon was 
honorably discharged on April 7, 1953.

Upon returning to Colorado, he resumed his studies and graduated from 
Colorado State University in 1956 with a degree in animal husbandry. 
Shortly after graduation, he returned with the family to Milwaukee.
It was at this time, Gordon went back to work for his father, who 
resumed management of Praefke Auto Electric at 29th Street and Fond 
du Lac Avenue.  Around 1960, the name was changed to Praefke Brake 
and Supply Corp. and Gordon purchased the company from his father, 
Edward.

Under Gordonís leadership, the company progressed from a small local 
distributor and remanufacturer of various automotive parts, to adding 
a network of three Gordonís #1 Wheel Service center locations across 
the greater Milwaukee area.

From there, his focus was to transition from a parts distribution 
and service center organization, into a manufacturer of automotive 
aftermarket brake parts. This began to be realized after moving the 
automotive aftermarket operations to a facility on 8075 N. 76th St. 
in 1986. The transition was completed after purchasing an OEM trailer 
brake division from EIS/Parker-Hannifin located in the Pick 
Manufacturing Plant at 133 Oak St., West Bend. The operations were 
eventually sold in 2003 when Gordon retired.

Throughout most of his life, Gordon was an active member of a number 
of different organizations. When he was a child, he was a member of 
the Boy Scouts and a member of the Cudworth Drum and Bugle Corps 
where he played his drums at sunrise services on the Milwaukee 
lakefront.

While attending Colorado State, he was a member of the Acacia 
Fraternity.  Then, into his adult years, he became a free and 
accepted Mason. He was a longtime standing member of the Brown Deer 
Lodge, and served as the secretary for many years. More recently, he 
became a member of George Washington 1776 lodge when the Brown Deer 
Lodge merged with them in 2002.

Building on his roots in Masonry, Gordon became a member of the 
Tripoli Shrine. Once a member of the shrine, he joined the Spahis 
Horse Patrol. It was here, where Gordonís current passion for horses 
and horsemanship were realized. Through this group, he had the joy 
and privilege to ride his horse in events such as the Tripoli Shrine 
Circus, the Great Circus Parade, The Midwest Shrine Packer game, the 
Wauwatosa 4th of July Parade, and other great venues.

Because of Gordonís dedication to the members and their animals, he 
was appointed the highest honor and rank, serving as the groupsí 
commandant (leader). Along with these groups, Gordon was a member of 
the Order of the Jesterís, George Washington Stein Club, Cudworth 
Post, past member of Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association and 
numerous other automotive groups.

It was Gordonís farm and home, Equus Paradise, in West Bend where all 
of his passions merged. Whether practicing for the next parade, 
entertaining family and friends, taking his grandchildren for a hay 
ride or his never ending dedication to working hard, the farm 
provided the stage for it all.

Purchased in 1987 through the same man his dad bought his farm from, 
with unimaginable hard work and determination, Gordon transformed a 
retired dairy farm, barn and house into a wondrous place for family, 
friends and animals to enjoy.

Even though he considered himself retired, those who knew him came to 
realize he never wanted to retire from here.  It was fitting that it 
was this place, where he set out to do one of his projects, when his 
earthly life suddenly ended and his heavenly life began.

Gordon was the beloved husband of Mary (nee Arnold); loving father of 
Carson Praefke, Barbara Praefke, Jason (Susanne) Praefke, Kathryn 
(James) Spaude, Kurt (Connie) Willer, Mary Beth (Rick) Waters, and 
James (Karen) Willer; loving grandfather of Nicholas (Julie) Taraboi, 
Michael (Sarah) Taraboi, Nicole (James) Roca, Joseph Taraboi, James 
Taraboi, Rebecca Willer, Kyle Willer, Ethan Willer, Tommy Willer, 
Charlie Willer, Samuel Spaude, Wyatt Praefke, Elisabeth Praefke, and 
Matthew Willer; loving great-grandfather to Michael Taraboi, Daniel 
Taraboi, Abigail Taraboi, Lydia Taraboi, and Andrew Taraboi. He is 
further survived by a niece, Janice Priebusch-Hauke; nephew, Jeff 
Zemple; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Edward H., and his mother, 
Linda R. (nee Nommensen) Praefke; and his sisters, Bernice (Earl) 
Brandau, Charlotte (Leonard) Zempel, Alice Praefke and Grace Praefke.