BLACKWOOD - Peter W. Halke, 78, of Blackwood, died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2012, after a long illness. Born in Jersey City, Peter moved to Newton with his wife and small children in the early 1960s, and stayed for more than 30 years. The son of the late William and Bertha (Cheffer) Halke, Peter attended Ferris High School in Jersey City before joining the U.S. Navy. After serving his country, Mr. Halke worked as a service technician for General Electric until his retirement 37 years later. Peter proudly served as chief of the Newton Fire Department and held the positions of assistant forman, forman, and chief of Chemical Company Number 2. He was a life member of the Sussex County Fireman's Associatoin, life member of the NJ State Fireman's Association, life member of NJ State EXEMPT Association, member of the NJ Fire Chief's Association, member of the Board of Managers of the NJ State Fireman's Home 1991-1992, fire inspector with the Newton Fire Prevention Bureau, past president of the Newton Fireman's EXEMPT Associaiton, secretary of the Sussex County Fireman's Association for 20 years and he was instrumental in working to establish the Newton Fire Museum. After his retirement, Peter moved to Blackwood where he joined the Blenheim Fire Department. He was also a two-time Exalted Ruler of the Newton Elks Club, and a member of Newton VFW Post 5360, the American Legion and the Newton Moose Club. Peter was a loyal husband, dedicated father and grandfather, and was a devoted member of the state's fire-fighting community. His tireless efforts will be missed by all those who had the privilege to serve with him. Peter is survived by his wife of 54 years, Virginia (Agemian) Halke; two brothers, Frank of Vernon and James of Wilkes Barre, Pa.; three sons, Thomas P. and his wife, Michelle, of Vernon, Robert W., of Union City, and Richard P., of Los Angeles, Calif.; and two grandsons, Bryan R., of Sussex, and Matthew T., of Newton. He also leaves behind his loyal dog, Dexter. Funeral services will be held Monday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m., at Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High St., Newton. Visitation will be held Sunday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m., with Fireman's Services at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Peter W. Halke's memory to the NJ Fireman's Home, 565 Lathrop Ave., Boonton, NJ 07005; or to the Newton Fire Department, P.O. Box 182, Newton, NJ 07860. Online condolences may be offered at www.smithmccrackenfuneralhome.com.
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Published in The New Jersey Herald on Oct. 18, 2012