Walter Benjamin Otto Rathke, 91
March 11, 1925 ó May 30, 2016

Walter Benjamin Otto Rathke, 91 Walter Benjamin Otto Rathke, 91, joyfully went to his heavenly home and reunited with his beloved wife of 61 years, Maryalyce, on Monday, May 30, at the Samaritan Health Center in West Bend.

Walter was born March 11, 1925, to Albert and Elsie (nee Uhlig) Rathke on the family farm in the town of Trenton. He was baptized and confirmed at and graduated eighth grade from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church and School on Pleasant Valley Road in West Bend.

On May 5, 1951, he married Maryalyce (nee Klein), also at Trinity. After taking over the farm at the age of 14, Walter farmed more than 40 years at which time he and Maryalyce were honored to sell it to their son and daughter-in-law. He then enjoyed a second career for another 25 years selling hybrid seed to farmers and recruiting dealers for seed companies.

Walter loved his Lord and Savior and believed children were truly a gift from God, relished being self-employed, appreciated Godís beautiful nature and enjoyed being a good caretaker of the property God entrusted to him. He enjoyed drawing wildlife and playing baseball in his early years. Throughout his life he also enjoyed music, playing cards with his family and friends, watching baseball games and telling a good joke or story. Over the years he sang in the local Barbershoppers, was involved in the church choir, evangelism and the Church Council at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in West Bend and St. Johnís Lutheran Church in Newburg. Walter was a member of the original founding committee for Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson and he and Maryalyce were avid supporters of KMLHS. They appreciated the blessings of all levels of Christian education for their children and grandchildren.

Walter is survived by his children, Laurie Brunz of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Bryan (Billie) of West Bend, Ellyn (John) Grasse of Campbellsport, Brenda (Jeff) Rusch of Merrimac, Claudia (Dean) Biebert of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, Jennifer (Darryl) Pufahl of Winchester, Andrea (Stephan) Wolff of West Bend and Jordan (Lisa) of West Bend. He is further survived by 51 grandchildren, very soon-to-be 80 great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Maryalyce; his parents; siblings, Linda (Fred) Poweleit, Eleanor (Marvin) Stanley, George (Esther) Rathke, Gerda (Marcus) Liesener, Hildegarde (Frank) Heiser and Esther Rathke; in-laws, Willard (Burnette) Klein, Kenneth (Ruth) Klein and Melvin (Delores) Klein; grandson, Jared Brunz; daughter-in-law, Cheryl Rathke; and son-in-law, Robert Brunz.

Walterís celebration of eternal life service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at St. Johnís Evangelical Lutheran Church in Newburg (623 Congress St.) with the Rev. Kurt Schaser presiding. Interment to follow service at St. Johnís Cemetery. Visitation will be at the church only Saturday, June 18, from 8:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11:30 a.m. Memorials are appreciated to Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School or St. Johnís Evangelical Lutheran Church of Newburg.

Special thanks to Pastor Schaser and members of St. Johnís, Dr. Klausmeier, BrightStar of West Bend, the Lighthouse of West Bend and Samaritan Health Center for enriching his life these past five years.

The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family: 262-338-2050 or