Cover photo for John Tanke's Obituary
John Tanke Profile Photo
1954 John 2018

John Tanke

June 3, 1954 — January 3, 2018

John Lee Tanke, age 63 years of Niles, Michigan died at 1:41 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 with his family gathered around at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana following a ruptured brain aneurysm.  As a registered Organ Donor, he chose to enhance and extend the lives of others through organ and tissue donation.

He was born on June 3, 1954 in Princeton, Illinois to Kenneth Charles and Mary Jean (Pierson) Tanke.  He graduated from William A. Wirt High School in Gary, Indiana, earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University Bloomington, and a Master’s Degree from Purdue University Calumet.  He began his career in education as a teacher in Portage, Indiana, and later served as an administrator in Hammond, Indiana.  He came to the Niles Community Schools in 1992 as Principal of Ring Lardner Middle School until 1996 when he became Director of Personnel.  He retired in 2009, but continued to serve in that position until 2015.

John was a member of Saint Iakovos Greek Orthodox Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.  He was also active in Freemasonry, as a member of the Gary Lodge #677 F. & A.M., the South Bend Scottish Rite, the Orak Shrine in Michigan City, Indiana, serving as a State Master Counselor for the Indiana DeMolay, and as a volunteer driver for the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.  He was appointed to the City of Niles Board of Public Utilities in 2016, was a member of the boards of the United Way of Greater Niles and the YMCA Camp Eberhart of South Bend and was a member of local and state professional school administrator associations.

When not at work or volunteering, John enjoyed coaching soccer, and riding his bicycle. He had completed several rides across the state of Iowa (RAGBRAI), and participated in the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association.  He also enjoyed wood working, including refurbishing furniture.

On June 17, 1978 in Merrillville, Indiana he married the former Valerie Terzes with whom he celebrated their thirty-ninth wedding anniversary.

Surviving family includes his wife, Valerie Tanke and their sons, Matthew R. (& Joanna Nichols) Tanke, J.D. of Chicago, Illinois and Michael J. (& Natalie DiCesare) Tanke of Rochester, New York; John’s sister, Stephanie Tanke of Crown Point, Indiana and Valerie’s sisters, Marianne (& Ken) Dowdy of Chesterton, Indiana and Georgene Johnson of Crown Point; and several nieces and nephews.

The Funeral Service for John Tanke will be at 11:00 a.m. Central Time on Monday, January 8, 2018 at Saint Iakovos Greek Orthodox Church, 36 W 700N, Valparaiso with the Rev. Fr. James Greanias – Presiding Priest.  Entombment will follow in the mausoleum at Graceland Cemetery in Valparaiso.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles, with the Trisagion Service chanted at 5:00 p.m. by Fr. Greanias.  A brief time of visitation will also be offered on Monday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Central Time at the church.

Contributions in memory of John may be made to Camp Eberhart, or to Grant-Hamill Foundation of the Indiana DeMolay.

Charitable donations may be made to:

YMCA Camp Eberhart
316 South Eddy Street, South Bend IN 46617

Grant-Hamill Foundation
Post Office Box 44107, Indianapolis IN 46244

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Tanke, please visit our flower store.


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