|Roger E. Wilke, 85, of 943 Harrison St., Galesburg, died at 4 p.m. Thursday, November 11, 2010 in Marigold Health Care Center.
He was born August 2, 1925 in Burlington, Iowa, the son of Oliver P. and Bergloit C. Hultgren Wilke. He married Audrey Adrian on June 22, 1945 in Burlington.
He is survived by his wife, Audrey, a son, Brad D. (and Peggy) Wilke of Galesburg, two grandchildren, Stephanie and Ryan Wilke, and two great grandchildren, Scarlett and Zachery Wilke. He was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Craig O. Wilke on April 18, 1975, and a grandson, Mark Wilke.
Roger graduated from Burlington High School in 1943, where he was an all state football player. He attended the University of Georgia in 1943, and then the University of Iowa on a football scholarship in 1946. He served in the United States Navy, as a Watertender 3rd Class, from 1943 to 1946 during World War II. He served on the escort carrier USS Rudyerd Bay CVE-81 in the Pacific Theatre. He was stationed in Iwo Jima, Philippines, and Okinawa. He received five Battle Stars. After the war, Roger participated in two Pacific crossings transporting Marines. He continued to play football while serving in the Navy.
Roger started working for the former C.B. & Q. Railroad as a fireman and then was an engineer. He worked for 45 years and retired from Burlington Northern Railroad in 1992. He moved to Galesburg from Burlington in 1956.
He was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and the Carmelite 3rd Order. Roger was also a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Ralph M. Noble American Legion Post 285 in Galesburg, and F.O.E. Eagles in Burlington.
Funeral mass will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 17, 2010 in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Monsignor Ernest Pizzamiglio will officiate. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery with military rites by Ralph M. Noble American Legion Post 285. The Rosary will be prayed at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Galesburg Chapel, followed by visitation until 7 p.m. Memorials may be made to Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church or Guardian Angels Humane Society. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.