Gerald Laverne Henke, 88, a 37 year resident of Montesano, died at Good Samaritan Medical Center, Puyallup, Friday, May 17, 2019. He was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, April 25, 1931, the son of Royal and Lucille (Zillyette) Henke.
He was raised on the family farm at Ludington, Wisconsin and had attended school there. During the early 1940s he had to leave school when he was 10 to tend to the farm due to his father’s ill health. Gerald would later serve in Army in Korea and upon his return from the service he would serve an apprenticeship with Fairbanks and Morris Metal Fabricators of Beloit, Wisconsin, that would start him on a long career as a machinist and metal fabricator.
In 1958, Gerald would bring his mother to Montesano to be near her family.
Gerald would work as a machinist for ITT Rayonier at Sekiu, Washington. It was there that he met his wife, Verle Johnson. They would marry in Portland, Oregon in 1959 while he was working there for Bingham-Willamette Metal Fabricators. Verle would pass away in 1965. Gerald continued to work for Bingham-Willamette until he bought a share in Hoquiam Plywood in 1982, and returning to Montesano to live. He retired in 1993.
He loved to walk four to five miles each day and liked to dabble in the stock market.
Gerald is survived by a son, Jerry and his wife Sherrie, of Puyallup. He is survived also by four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A brother, Dennis and a sister, Lois McCollum, preceded him in death.
He was laid to rest in private ceremonies next to his mother in Wynooche Cemetery, Montesano.
A celebration of his life was held Saturday, May 25, in the Montesano Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 2455, 315 Main St., Montesano, Washington.
The family suggests memorials may be made to the Salvation Army, 215 N. “G” St., Aberdeen, WA 98520.
A card of condolence with a message or a memory may be sent to the family at www.fernhillfuneral.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home, Aberdeen.