Vern Eli Radke, Sr.

Army Badge
  • Name: Vern Eli Radke Sr.
  • Location of Birth: Crookston, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: July 15, 1926
  • Date of Death: July 6, 2003 (76 years old)
  • Parents: Eli Radke and Carrie (Morlan) Radke
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  • Branch: Army
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  • Military Awards:
    Bronze Star

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  • Wars Involved:
    World War II
    Korean Conflict

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  • Civilian Life:
    Vern grew up and attended schools in Crookston, Minnesota.

    He was united in marriage to Maxine Chadwick on September 18, 1948, and had been a resident of Grand Rapids for more than 50 years. He retired from the Grand Rapids Public Utilities, Waste Treatment Plant in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    Vern was currently the presiding commander of Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 13, for the third time.

    He was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels and a former member of the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, all in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    Vern loved hunting, fishing and baseball, and was a season ticketholder of the Minnesota Twins.

    Vern is survived by his daughter, Garnet (Doug) Lord; a son, Vern Radke, Jr.; a brother, Beryl (Shirley); two granddaughters; a special niece, Judy Waymire; and many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.

    He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Maxine; two sisters, Garnet and Alvera; and a brother, Roy.

    Article written by Ken Hickman in his "Shooting the Rapids" column in the July 13, 2003, edition of the Grand Rapids Herald Review:
    "We'd better talk," Vern Radke said one morning a few years ago as he grabbed my arm at the YMCA.
    A mainstay at the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, Mr. Radke had been writing letters to the editor and spending his own money on advertisements opposing a District 318 bond issue. My column had been urging support for the proposal. "Oh-oh, who throws the first punch?" I joked. We shared a laugh, chatted for a few minutes and agreed that neither could convince the other that his views were wrong. "See you around," Vern said, with a smile.
    Vern E. Radke died at his Grand Rapids home July 6. It would be a sad mistake to remember him only for something he opposed. Mr. Radke worked tirelessly for veterans' causes and just this year agreed to serve another term as DAV commander. He always seemed to be working at the county fair DAV Bingo booth. He volunteered regularly to deliver Meals on Wheels.
    "Vern delivered meals for our program at the YMCA for 13 years," program leader Carney Dean says. "He delivered meals for the school district and the hospital, too"

    Vern died at his home and is buried in Itasca Calvary Cemetery at Grand Rapids, Minnesota. (Plot C-D-25-05)

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