Harley Hanke

Harley Hanke Obituary


Age - 102


September 11, 2023


Morris, MN

Funeral services for Harley Hanke of Moose Lake, formerly of Morris, Minnesota, will be held Sunday, September 17, 2023 at 2:00 p. m. at Federated Church in Morris, with Reverend Matthew Orendorff and Dan Swenson officiating. Visitation will be from 12:30 p. m. to 2:00 p. m. with an open casket from 12:30 to 1:00 p. m. Burial will be at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Brownsville, Minnesota on Monday, September 18, 2023, at 10:30 a. m. Harley was born on January 10, 1921, in Brownsville, Minn. in the same house where his father was born and on the land his grandfather originally homesteaded – a place still owned by his family and lovingly referred to as "Harley Heaven. " Harley attended high school in Caledonia, Minn. , and graduated in 1938. His parents instilled in him the value of education and a hard work ethic at an early age, which propelled his life’s journey and professional career. For one year, he stayed home and helped on the farm to save money to go on to college. He enrolled in the St. Paul School of Agriculture in 1939, but later took a job as a 4-H Agent in Stearns County to earn more money to continue his education. He enrolled again at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1941 after winning a scholarship from a national livestock judging competition in Chicago. Short on money again in 1942, he paused his education to work as a fieldman at a creamery in Rush City. This was during the start of World War II and the job was deferred, meaning he was not eligible for the draft. However, feeling it was his duty to serve his country and join his comrades in the battle for freedom, he resigned from his job, intentionally making himself eligible for the WWII draft. He served three years in the army, 14 months of which were in Italy as a combat infantry squad leader, fighting the Germans through the Apennine Mountains and across the Po Valley. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in action. When the war was over, he returned to the University of Minnesota and then got a job teaching Veterans on the Farm Training at Murdock. It was there that he met the love of his life, Helen Krattenmaker. The two later wed in 1969 and had one daughter, Sarah, in 1970. Never one to leave a goal unattained, Harley returned to the University of Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1953. He then taught at the West Central School of Agriculture in Morris for two years and went on to earn his master’s degree in animal husbandry. He was appointed assistant professor at the University of Minnesota West Central Experiment Station in charge of teaching and research with dairy cattle, beef cattle, swine and sheep. He held this position for 33 years, authoring or co-authoring 57 articles or abstracts published in the Journal of Animal Science, 95 articles in the Minnesota Sheep and Lamb Feeders Proceedings, 59 articles in the University Swine Reports, 45 Beef Feeder proceedings, 6 Beef-Cow-Calf publications, and 2 articles in the Journal of Animal Production as well as numerous University bulletins. His accomplishments led to him being promoted to full professor in 1980 and being inducted into the Minnesota Livestock Hall of Fame in 1987. Harley was a proud member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity at the University of Minnesota and was named 2001 AGR Man of the Year. In 2000, the West Central Research and Outreach Center (formerly West Central Experiment Station) dedicated and renamed their sheep research facility the Harley Hanke & Robert Jordan Sheep Research Facility. Harley was an avid conservationist who loved to hunt, fish and enjoy the beauty of nature. He was a member of the American Society of Animal Science, a director of the Minnesota Shorthorn Breeders Association for 18 years, a director of the Dakota-Minnesota Columbia Sheep Breeders Association for 20 years, a member of the Kiwanis Club and advisor to Key Club, member of the VFW, American Legion, Morris Sportsmen’s Club and past president of the Morris Federated Church. To list Harley’s awards and achievements would quite literally take a whole book, but even more remarkable and important than his accomplishments, was his faith in God, love for his family and friends, and unwavering commitment to always treat people the way he would want to be treated and to always do the ‘right and honorable thing. ’ Harley was truly the greatest of the Greatest Generation and an uncommon man who left a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. His family will be inspired by his example all their earthly days and will strive to follow in his footsteps until they are reunited again in Heaven, having, like Harley, placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Harley E. Hanke of Morris, Minn. , passed peacefully into the arms of his Savior on Saturday, September 9, 2023, in the presence of his loving family having achieved the remarkable age of 102 and the definition of a life well lived. Harley is survived by his wife, Helen Hanke, daughter, Sarah (Nathan) Libbon; grandson Andrew Libbon, granddaughter Katherine Libbon, sister Violet Hoglund of St. Paul, MN, sister Ruby Philpot of Portland, OR, sister Donna Luttchens of New Albin, IA, many beloved nieces and nephews, and countless former students, colleagues and friends. Please view the Stevens County Historical Society Hall of Honor video about Harley Hanke below. Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in care of the arrangements forr Harley.

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Bill Meek

Bill Meek

Age - 72

November 13, 2023

William Edward Meek passed away on November 12, 2023, at the age of 72 surrounded by his family. Bill was born on November 23, 1950, in Warren, MN to Sophie (Smith) and Alvin Meek. He graduated from Stephen High School in Stephen, MN in 1968 where he was active in football, basketball, track and band. He was known for carrying out many pranks with his friends and younger brother John while in high school. Bill spent his summers camping around Bemidji as a child while his Dad built area hospitals and schools. He spent summer weekends camping and fishing at Lake of the Woods as a child and an adult. He shared his love of hunting, fishing and camping with his children as they grew up. Bill married Leslie Thibodo on June 13, 1970, in Stephen, MN. Bill graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1973 with a degree in accounting. Bill and Leslie owned Meek Accounting in Elbow Lake from 1973-1984. After selling their business he took over as controller of Cosmos Enterprises. Bill and Leslie moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1989 so Leslie could pursue graduate education. Bill worked for several companies while in Michigan and specialized in helping companies at financial risk. Bill and Leslie moved back to Minnesota in 1994 where they built a hobby farm near Starbuck. Bill raised grass fed cattle and chickens with his son-in-law Dennis. After moving back to Minnesota Bill worked for Superior Industries for several years before eventually retiring from Toro. Bill is survived by his wife Leslie, daughter Jeni (Rick) Toms and son Andy (Aubree) Meek. He is also survived by his grandchildren Cody (Danielle Keck) Wutzke, Colton (Genevieve) Wutzke, Morgan Meek, Hannah Wutzke, Bradyn Meek, Nora Meek, Kyle (Brooke) Toms, Alex (Ashley Thompson) Toms and Stephanie Toms and great-grandchildren Garrett and McKenna Toms. Other survivors include brother John (Linda) Meek, sisters-in-law Lynn (Steve) Johnson and Kelly (John) Prigge, brother-in-law Scott (Pam) Thibodo and son-in-law Dennis Wutzke as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Alvin and Sophie Meek, brother Larry Meek, sister Marilyn Smidt and mother-in-law and father-in-law Donalyn and James Thibodo. Bill did not wish to have a public funeral service. A private family memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers please make donations to https://ragom. org RAGOM Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest. Starbuck Funeral Home is in care of the arrangements for Bill. To send condolences to the family, please visit www. pedersenfh. com.Show more

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