Cover photo for William Robert Lehrke's Obituary
Bill

William Robert Lehrke

d. May 4, 2024

Minneapolis, MN

Lehrke, William R. (Bill, Billy, Coach, Pa), 87 years, passed away peacefully at his home in Minneapolis on May 4, 2024.   He was born on February 11, 1937, on a farm in Roberts County, SD.  Bill was raised on a farm 12 miles northeast of Browns Valley, MN on the hills overlooking Lake Traverse on the South Dakota side.  He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 58 years, Rae-Marie, and his parents, Ed and Alice Lehrke, brothers Marlyn Lehrke, Wayne Lehrke, Richard Lehrke, and sisters-in-law Ilse Lehrke and Kaye Lehrke.

                Bill never met a stranger. He was a man of many talents; he was a cowboy in South Dakota, something he was so proud of.  He worked on the Milwaukee Railroad when he was first married.  In 1963, he moved his family to Minneapolis, finding work at National Mower Co.  He was an amazing musician, performing with the Harold Johnson Dance Band, The Rhythm-aires, and The Country Kings, playing lead guitar and singing harmony.  He traveled around to dance venues in MN, SD, and ND, playing for dances on weekends, in addition to working full time at National Mower and part-time at Skyline Market. For a time, he was part owner of Midwest Window Home Remodeling. He retired from Bernard Dalsin Manufacturing in 2002, enjoying 22 years in retirement. After retirement, Bill and Rae joined the Southside Singers, enjoying several years of performing for various care centers and at concerts. Of course, Bill turned them into Country singers!

Bill loved all sports, playing baseball, basketball, and football for Browns Valley High School.  He was a faithful Vikings and Twins fan. He played softball in the 70s, later coaching a softball team who became family.  He was a friend and mentor to so many people and displayed a wisdom and wit that was the perfect combination. After the death of his beloved Rae, he self-published a book about his life that he had been working on in retirement.  He titled it “Remembering and Rambling On”. He lives on in his book. In the last 4-5 years of his life he was an artist, finishing a series of paintings inspired by his book. He titled the series, "Remembering and Painting On" which focused on homes and places special to him throughout his life. He was a true renaissance man, adapting as needed, despite his physical limitations in his later years.

Bill is survived and will be deeply missed by his daughters, Tamra (Scott) Adams, Melanie Bailey, Stacia (AJ) Johnson, Alecia (Robert) Zerr, and son Shane (Jill) Lehrke; grandchildren Lindsey (Matt) Sanders, Brittany (Birdie Golden) Bailey, Laine Adams, Bill (Monica) Zerr, Jesse Zerr, Annie Johnson, and Zach Johnson; and six treasured great-grandchildren, Kaile, Hazel, Miles, Ella, Mason, and Sylvia, who all lit up his life.  Also survived by brothers Ken Lehrke and Dean (Dianne) Lehrke and sisters-in-law Vonnie Lehrke and Janice Pond and many, many nieces, nephews and treasured friends.  

 

                A visitation will be held at Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services, 3131 Minnehaha Ave S., Minneapolis, MN on Thursday, May 9, 2024, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.  Funeral service at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church, 4101 37th Ave S., Minneapolis on Friday, May 10, 2024, at 11:00 am with visitation beginning at 10:00 am.

                A service will also be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Sisseton, SD.  Visitation will be at 10:00 am, with service following at 11:00 am on Monday, May 13, 2024.   Inurnment at Peever Cemetery, Peever, SD, at a later date.

A special thank you to daughter, Melanie Bailey, who literally put her life on hold to help Dad in his last years.  We are forever grateful to her loving commitment to Dad. It is what kept him going.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, May 9, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services - Minneapolis

3131 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Friday, May 10, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church

4101 37th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, May 10, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church

4101 37th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Monday, May 13, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, May 13, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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