Michael Alfred Gaffke of Bremerton, Wash., passed away in the presence of his children on Dec. 4, 2010.
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Mike was born Aug. 3, 1943, and raised in Bozeman. He grew up working on his family's ranch. In 1961, he graduated from Bozeman's Rosary High School. After graduation, Mike was employed as a hod carrier.
He was married to his first wife, Judy Jones, and together they had two children, Shelly and Scott. In 1969 the couple moved to Bremerton, Wash., where Mike began a lifetime career of meat cutting. He was trained to cut meat from his uncle, George Minder, of Minder's Meats. During these years, Mike married his second wife, Phylis Bramlett, with children Brad and Deanna.
Later, Mike partnered with Jim Minder Sr. and together they ran Brownsville Lockers. In 1979, Mike sold his business interest back to Jim, and he opened his own shop. Mike's Custom Meats was where he worked until his retirement. This shop was not only where Mike sold meat, but it was a place where family and friends could catch up on local gossip, share a laugh, a pot of coffee, a bet, a hand of cards or listen to a game.
Mike had a passion for sports, horse racing and crossword puzzles. He enjoyed old movies and the peace of his apartment during these last few years. Mike was an honest and hard-working man. He was a straight shooter and freely shared his opinion. He worried more about his family and friends than he did about himself. Though reserved with his emotions, his family and friends never had any doubt that he loved them. We love you, Dad. We miss you so much. Thank you for our lives.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, William and Florence Gaffke; his brothers, Tony Gaffke and Harold Gaffke; sister, Patricia Arthun; his first wife, Judy Jenkins; and many close friends.
Mike is survived by his brother, Bill Gaffke; sister, Kay Tack, daughter and son-in-law, Shelly and Brian Driskell; and his son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Tammy Gaffke. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Rachel, Michael, Jordan, Katie, Kristen, Terra; and great-grandson, Jordan.
Mike wished for his remains to be returned to Montana where his mother and father have been laid to rest.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 19, 2010