Friday, June 8, 2018
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM CDT
Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home
803 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403
AND Saturday at St. Rita Catholic Church from 9:45 A.M. until 10:45 A.M.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
11:00 AM CDT
St. Rita Catholic Church
4339 Douglas Avenue
Racine, WI 53402
Life Story / Obituary
Born in a time of plenty and raised during a time of tremendous challenge and change Roy James Radke lived a life rich in family. Roy was hard working, quick-witted, and determined. Though stern, he delighted in teasing his children and grandchildren, often inspiring a smile, laugh, or giggle. A devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Roy lived an honorable life that inspired all who were blessed to know him. While he will be sadly missed, Roy’s legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those he loved most.
1928 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of Penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the Yo-Yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased nowhere was their more hope for the future than in Antigo, Wisconsin as Otto and Clara (nee: Joyce) Radke welcomed their son Roy into their hearts and home on March 6th.
Growing up in northern Wisconsin during the 30s and 40s, Roy learned the values of hard work, self-reliance, and family which served as a firm foundation upon which he built the rest of his life. His parents, who owned a cheese factory, also raised Roy and his siblings, Dorothy, Earl, Kay, and Terry, with a strong faith and an unflinching willingness to be of service to others.
As a youngster, Roy walked to school uphill both ways and used baked potatoes to keep his hands warm. For many years he served as an altar boy at St. John Church. Some of Roy’s strongest memories included jumping the northbound freight train to pick blueberries at Summit Lake and bringing his rifle to school, hunting to and from school, and the school janitor storing the students’ guns for them during the day.
At the age of 14, Roy moved to Racine where he attended Washington Park High School. Fortune gifted Roy with the gift of meeting the love of his life, Patricia J. Fredericks, who lived across the street from the Radkes and was a classmate of his younger sister Kay. Every Friday Pat dressed up in hopes of seeing Roy; her efforts eventually paid off and the happy couple united in marriage on April 11, 1955, at the Catholic Chapel in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
In time, Roy and Pat were blessed to welcome 11 children into their family. Kurt, Anne, Karl, Lisa, Khris, Paul, Julie, Claire, Tricia, Mike, and Dan were the center of Roy’s life and truly his greatest joy. He loved sharing his passion for fishing off the pier, hunting, the Brewers, and the Packers with his kids as well as watching them discover their passions and follow their own paths.
For twenty-two years Roy proudly served in the United States Army. In his words "I could have been a soldier in any Army. Army discipline fit me to a “T”; it was so easy for me. Having been born in the heat of the depression; there were no hardships. I entered the US Army on a fraudulent enlistment at 16 years. It was so easy to change one number on my birth certificate." During these years he was involved in the end of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. For his valor, Roy was the recipient of the Bronze Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, and the Army Commendation Medal. Roy retired as Master Sergeant.
After retiring from the Army, Roy began working for the City of Racine Water Department. For over twenty years he worked as a pump operator. In 1990 he officially began enjoying a long and well-earned retirement.
Over the course of his long life, Roy gave much of his time and talents to various local organizations. A member of St. Rita Catholic Church, he was also a member of the 1st Calvary Division Association, V.F.W. Post-1391, Vietnam Veteran’s Association Chapter 767, D.A.V. Chapter 9, The Retired Enlisted Association (T.R.E.A.), and he served on the Veterans Advisory Board to Congressman Paul Ryan. He always marched in the Memorial Day parade and enjoyed the family picnic that followed. Roy was honored to participate in the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight in November of 2014. While on the Honor Flight became fast friends with former Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Their friendship lead to phone calls, letters, and eventually the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Brewers game.
While serving his community was a special privilege to Roy, nothing filled his heart more than spending time with his family. He loved attending his children's and grandchildren’s events and cheering them on in each of their endeavors. Many hours were spent in the stands of his grandchildren’s schools in Mequon, Yorkville, and Racine and attending grandparents day with his beloved at his side. Though he teased them often, his grandchildren always knew the special place he held them in his heart. In their grandfather’s eyes, it was abundantly clear that they were loved, supported, and encouraged. Without a doubt, they were his heart’s delight.
Clearly, the world feels less certain in the absence of Roy’s steadfast presence. Each time we work a crossword puzzle, cast a line, walk in the woods, and cheer on our family members we celebrate the gift of Roy’s legacy in our lives. It is in moments such as these that we will feel most present to how his spirit lives on in our hearts and continues to inspire each of our days.
Roy J. Radke, age 90, passed away peacefully Sunday morning at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee. Roy was born in Antigo, WI, March 6, 1928, son of the late Otto and Clara (nee: Joyce) Radke.
He will be dearly missed by his loving wife of sixty-three years, Pat; his children, Kurt (Loreen) Radke of Northville, MI, Karl (Jacqueline) Radke of Racine, Lisa (Bob) Zemke, Khris (Janet) Radke, all of Oak Creek, Paul (Tina) Radke, Julie (Darrel) Johnson, Claire Weiss, Tricia (Darin) Evans, Mike Radke, Dan (Janet) Radke, all of Racine; son-in-law, Philippe (Clara) Cooper; his grandchildren, Brianne, Megan, and Jillian Radke, Allison (Ade) Okuneye, Colette and Matthew Cooper, Audra, Laurin, and Jameson Radke, Katie (Brad) Lauer, Rob Zemke, Nathan, Hanna, and Jenna Radke, Chase and Kaylee Johnson, Will and Michael Weiss, Abbey (Jordan) Bower, Lexie and Ethan Evans, Alex and Charlize Radke, Andrew and Alaina Radke; his great-grandchildren, Nadiah and Aderemi Okuneye, Eva Radke, Brooklynn Lauer, Jak and Scarlet Johnson, and two more great grandchildren on the way; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Don (Shirley) Engstrom, Dolores Olmstead, Joan (Don) Hoaglund, Roberta Noe, Tom Fredericks, Jerry Fredericks; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends. In addition to his parents, Roy was also preceded in death by his daughter, Anne Cooper; siblings, Dorothy (Bud) Boyce, Earl (Rita) Radke, Kay Engstrom, and Terry Radke.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Rita Catholic Church, 4339 Douglas Ave, on Saturday, June 9, 2018, 11:00 a.m. Entombment with Full Military Honors will follow at Holy Cross Garden Mausoleum, Hwy 32. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and at St. Rita Catholic Church on Saturday from 9:45 a.m. until 10:45 a.m.
A special thank you to the doctors and staff at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center for their loving and compassionate care.