Norman G. Wilke entered eternal life on April 21, 2018.
A celebration of life service for Norman will be held Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 11:00AM at the Shuda Plover Funeral Home - 2400 Plover Road, Plover, WI. Pastor Steve Hulke will officiate. Friends and family may gather to share memories on Saturday from 9-10:45AM at the funeral home. Burial will be at a later date.
Norman was born on the family farm in Dorchester, Wisconsin to Max and Vernetta (Winchell) Wilke. He married his teen sweetheart, Ruth Broeske, on September 21, 1951 in Dorchester and they moved to Stevens Point and settled there. They moved to Plover in 1977.
As a teen, Norman traveled from South Dakota to North Dakota working on ranches during the harvest seasons with his buddies. In Stevens Point, he was a route driver for Dad's Root Beer and then retired in 1994 from the Copps Corporation after 38 years as a truck driver earning many safe-driving awards.
As a young boy, he enjoyed disassembling and reassembling machines. He converted a pedal sewing machine to a jigsaw and created wooden shelves and boxes. He continued working with wood later in life caring for trees on his land near Minocqua, harvesting those trees and then using the lumber for wood carving, building furniture and chainsaw carving. He had great attention to detail in his woodcarvings, spending sometimes fifty hours on one piece.
Other hobbies included: family camping trips, fishing, trapping, canoeing, gardening and canning; making beer, root beer, and wine; growing ginseng; playing sheepshead; harvesting black walnuts and cutting wood for his wood fires. When son Bob was young, Norm was a Cub Scout leader and the scouts had fun camping out on Norm's land up north. Norm enjoyed teaching woodcarving classes at Camp Hope with Jack Larsen and attending wood carving classes at the Lincoln Center.
After Ruth died, Norman had two canine companions: Olive and Ophelia. His last pet was Felix his cat. Except for squirrels that competed for his black walnuts, he had a real connection to and love for animals.
Survivors include three children: Cheryl (Paul) Wachowiak, Kristy (Dave) Meyer, and Robert Wilke; two grandchildren: Vincent (Roseanna) Wachowiak and Laura Ruth (Clint Piotrowski) Wachowiak; sisters Darlene Dassow and Bernice Beck; and brother-in-law Gene Faber.
He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth (1993), sisters Betty Faber and Hilda Boxrucker, brothers-in-law James Beck, Louis Boxrucker and Raymond Dassow.
The family thanks Norm's neighbors for lending a helping hand and delivering tasty food. Also thanks to Jack Larsen for the Camp Hope trips and checking in on Dad. Thanks to Lee and Julie Lampert for giving dad firewood in his later years.
The family would like to extend appreciation and thanks to the devoted staff at the Atrium Point Manor and Rehabilitation Center for the excellent care and companionship provided to Norm while he resided there during recent months.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be honored by contributions to Camp Hope, P.O. Box 84, Amherst, WI 54406 in Norm's memory.