Elmer Rudolph Gaedtke, age 92 years of Niles, Michigan, father, grandfather, honorable veteran, manufacturing engineer, and Great Lakes boater died peacefully at 12:15 a.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021 at The Chalet of Niles following a brief illness.
He was born on January 9, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois to Rudolph C. and Anna (Seitz) Gaedtke, and soon after, moved with his family to the Michiana area. He was graduated from South Bend Clay High School, and went to work at the former Studebaker Automobile assembly plant in South Bend. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1951, serving with the famous 27th Infantry Regiment as a truck driver. He served ten months overseas before being Honorably Discharged as a Private First Class and veteran of the Korean Conflict.
He continued his education at the DeVry Institute, and as a young engineer, he was employed in many of the prominent local manufacturing concerns including Bendix Aerospace, and Whirlpool appliances. Eventually, he settled in the engineering offices of the former Buchanan, Michigan plant of Clark Equipment Company, from which he retired in 1992.
Elmer was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Niles where he had also served as a Deacon, and was a member of the B.P.O. of Niles Elks #1322. He enjoyed camping with his family in the Cumberland region and boating on the Great Lakes. His boat, the “Wee Folk” was docked in New Buffalo, Michigan, but Elmer was proud to have piloted his craft onto all five of the Great Lakes.
On May 29, 1954 at the First Presbyterian Church of South Bend he married the former Barbara J. Conrad with whom he celebrated the remarkable Sixtieth Anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on July 10, 2014. He was also preceded in death by two sons, Christopher Gaedtke on November 28, 2010 and Conrad Gaedtke on February 9, 2020; and by his parents.
Surviving family incudes their daughter, Cherie Gaedtke Dowling of Niles; daughters-in-law, Kathy (Mrs. Chris) Gaedtke of Granger, Indiana and Brenda (Mrs. Conrad) Gaedtke of Niles; grandchildren Ryne (& Merideth Hollingsworth) Dowling, Jenna (& T.J.) Dowling-Treat, Jayson (& Tracie) Gaedtke, Chad (& Bobbi) Gaedtke, Conrad (& Ana) Gaedtke II, Erika (& Jarred Owens) Pickles, Eric (& Nicole) Gaedtke, and Tyler Gaedtke; fourteen great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
The family of Elmer Gaedtke is gathering privately to share memories and honor his life. Contributions in memory of Mr. Gaedtke may be made to the Berrien County Cancer Service, 3900 Hollywood Road, Saint Joseph, Michigan, 49120; https://bccancerservice.org/ .
Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
Elmer used his ninety-two years well, as a productive member of his community, serving his country and his church, and enjoying the world around him while camping and boating. More importantly, he loved his family, Barbara and the kids, and their spouses and children; and all of the great-grands. And he was always aware of the Source of these blessings.