FAIRMONT - A funeral service for Emil F. Lemke, 89, of Fairmont, Minn., will be 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, 2014, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fairmont. Interment with military honors provided by the Lee C. Prentice American Legion Post 36 and Martin County VFW Post 1222 will be in Fairview Memorial Park, Fairmont.
Emil passed away Saturday morning, March 1, 2014, at his home in Fairmont. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at Lakeview Funeral Home in Fairmont, and will continue one hour prior to the service Friday at the church.
Lakeview Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Fairmont is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to one of Emil's interests.
Emil F. Lemke was born April 15, 1924, in rural Welcome, Minn., the son of Otto and Elizabeth (Wessel) Lemke. He attended school at St. Paul's Lutheran Parochial School in Wilbert and Fairmont. In 1943, Emil enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the 17th Airborne Division, 193rd Glider Infantry. He became a certified paratrooper. He entered WWII at the Battle of the Bulge, where he parachuted into the front lines. At one point, he and some of the other soldiers made their way close enough to the enemy lines that they were able to hear the German soldiers talking and relayed the info. After the war ended, he transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division, achieving the rank of sergeant and was an Honor Guard before receiving an honorable discharge in 1945. On Oct. 16, 1946, Emil was united in marriage to Betty Wendt at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fairmont. This union was blessed with five children. The couple resided in Fairmont, where they built a home with the help of his father, brothers and friends. Emil worked at the canning factory as well as setting pins at the bowling alley downtown. Emil later went to work for Iowa Electric Light and Power, Natural Gas Division, where he worked for more than 36 years before his retirement on July 1, 1984. Emil was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fairmont for over 75 years. He was also a member of the Martin County VFW, Big Pine Lake Association, Archery Club, Martin County Conservation Club and helped establish Amber Lake Park. During his free time, Emil enjoyed tending to his large garden which he always kept nearly weed-free, fishing, hunting, woodworking, puzzles and playing cards. He had a fun sense of humor and was a hardworking, humble man.
Left to cherish his memory are: his wife, Betty Lemke of Fairmont, Minn.; children, Kim (Rojene) Lemke, of Missoula, Mont., Larry Lemke of Fairmont, Minn., Dale "Emil" Lemke of Milford, Iowa, Karen Lemke (Martin Freeman) of Mankato, Minn., and Angela (John) Preuss of Fairmont, Minn.; grandchildren, Michael, Marci, Amber, Emily, Justin, Elizabeth, Daniel, and Stuart and their families; brothers, Sylvan (Dolores) Lemke of Armstrong, Iowa, Reinhold (Lorraine) Lemke of Northfield, Minn., and Hubert (Shirley) Lemke of Fairmont, Minn.; sisters, Irene (John) Robichaud of Vermont, and Esther Baxter of Blue Earth, Minn.; sister-in-law, Maryl Jean Lemke of Fairmont, Minn.; many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Along with his parents, Otto and Elizabeth Lemke, Emil was preceded in death by his brothers, Alfred Lemke and his wife, Margaret, and Victor Lemke; sister, Marcella Nicholson and her husband, Hugh; brother-in-law, Bill Baxter; in-laws, Lorane and Roy Schultz, LeeAnn and Dale Minscer; and other relatives.