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GERRIT C. WABEKE was born on April 5, 1927 to Cornelius and Helen (Muilenburg) Wabeke on a farm two miles south of Hatfield, Minnesota. As a young child, he moved with his family to a farm by Woodstock, Minnesota where he began attending the country school. When he was eight years old, he again moved with his family to Pipestone, Minnesota and continued his education there. In March, 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in Hasting, Nebraska. After his discharge from the service in August, 1946, he returned to Pipestone where he began working at the toy factory. Three months later, he became employed by the Farmers Creamery in Pipestone. On June 6, 1948, he was united in marriage to Betty Jean Strolis at the church parsonage in Luverne, Minnesota. Following their marriage, they lived in Pipestone and Gerrit continued to work for the creamery. In 1953, he began working for the Golden Guernsey Dairy in Pipestone. He kept working there until 1963 when he became employed as a clerk for the U.S. Postal Service. He retired from the post office in 1986. On Friday, June 25, 2021, Gerrit passed away at the Pipestone County Medical Center in Pipestone at the age of 94 years, two months and 20 days.
Gerrit was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Pipestone where he served as an elder, deacon and Mr. Fix-it. He was always very willing to help fix anything at church and also for his friends and neighbors. He was also a member of the Michael Boock American Legion Post #6, the Legion Honor Guard, and the Golden Club. He enjoyed making the certificate frames for Terrific Kids, and he especially enjoyed working with wood. He will be remembered for his love of hunting, reading Louis L’Amour books, and the time spent with his family camping and at July 4th get-togethers.
He is lovingly remembered by his six children, Julie Christ of Pipestone, Minnesota, Linda (Gary) Lee of Watertown, South Dakota, Kathy (Dale) Serie of Arlington, Texas, Jerry (Rose) Wabeke of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Joan (William “Bill”) Schulze of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Steven (special friend Kathy) Wabeke of Pipestone, Minnesota; 17 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; one step-great-grandchild; and sister-in-law Marilyn Wabeke. He is preceded in death by his wife, Betty; his parents; one sister, Christine Pike; six brothers, Frank Wabeke, Cap Wabeke, Cornelius Jr. Wabeke, Arie Wabeke, John Wabeke, and Jake Wabeke; grandson Joel Christ; and son-in-law, Gregory Christ.