Charlotte Lemke(1917 - 2013)

Charlotte M. Lemke

Charlotte (Roepke) Lemke made the transition to her heavenly home on October 21, 2013, at the age of 96.

She was born at home in Birnamwood, Wisconsin, to Chas. J. and Cora (Lemke) Roepke on September 10, 1917, the fifth of eight children. Her Christian parents brought her to church for Baptism and encouraged her by word and example to grow in her faith in Jesus as her Savior. She was confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Birnamwood with John 3:16 as her Bible verse.

In high school, Charlotte enjoyed many activities, especially playing the glockenspiel in band and cheering on the Birnamwood ball teams with their orange and black school colors. During these years, she was in Campfire Girls and created her own yell: "Hi-lo-eenie meenie-kai-kai in the bee-wah-wah…" which she used with her family to call each other in the woods.

One day, her sister Dorothea invited Charlotte to join her on a blind date where she met the love of her life, Fred Lemke, of rural Wausau. While courting, they enjoyed many dances at Eau Claire Dells and Mayflower Lake. On April 19, 1941 Fred and Charlotte came before the Lord's altar to be united in marriage at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Birnamwood. They shared the same faith, which was important to them.

They were blessed with two children, William F. Lemke of Woodruff and Lu Ann Selmeyer of Antigo. They delighted in spending time with their seven grandchildren: Brea (Isaac) Grace of Onalaska, Shem (Katie) Lemke of Mequon, Heidi (Shinri) Emoto of Tokyo, Japan, Shayna (fiancée Sergei Pavlov) Lemke of Bridgton, Maine, DJ (Ranae) Selmeyer of Phoenix, Arizona, Shad Lemke of Wilsall, Montana, and Kasey (Kelly) Lemke of Munster, Indiana. Once again, blessings poured down from Heaven in their ten great-grandchildren: Shiloh, Sean, Mildred, Nora, and Kira Lemke; Innis and Adaryn Grace; Noah and Meg Emoto; and Madeline Selmeyer.

Also surviving is one brother, Dr. Henry Roepke and his wife Carol of Milwaukee and sister-in-law Jean Roepke of Cedarburg/Mayflower Lake. She was preceded to Heaven by her parents, her beloved husband Frederick W. in 1990, and siblings: Norman, Elton, Mildred, Dorothea, Ruth, and Newton as well as in-laws: Zella Roepke, Monroe Mund, Carl Detjen, and Earle Gimber.

Too soon after their marriage, the winds of WWII saw Fred leaving to serve his country overseas. Charlotte then returned to Birnamwood to help in the family business while keeping a scrapbook of Fred's patriotic service as an MP in the U.S. Army, serving in North Africa, Sicily, England, and D-day at Omaha Beach. After victory was achieved, there was a joyful celebration when Fred returned to Wisconsin. Fred returned to work at Lemke Milk Products, which his father had founded. Soon they were looking for more challenges and bought a 98 acre farm 3 miles north of Wausau.

Charlotte became involved in activities at Trinity Lutheran School as their two children grew, including, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and 4-H. Fred attended night school to take drafting classes to design a new house and Charlotte studied landscaping and showcard lettering. This led to her developing her own printing style and a life-long interest in calligraphy.

For many years, every Saturday night was spent square dancing with friends and neighbors at the Maine Town Hall. This group had an annual Labor Day weekend of fun and dancing at Camp Susan.

For over 50 years, Charlotte was an active member of Handy Hands Homemakers Club. She also enjoyed the out-of-doors, keeping both flower and vegetable gardens. Many friends and neighbors enjoyed bouquets and raspberries from her gardens or slips of the plants she shared. Each fall the pantry was filled with canned goods: pickles, peaches, pears, her special V-8 juice, grape juice and jams and jellies. Her love of nature extended to rescuing little Christmas trees from the ditches on the side of the road before they were cut off by the mowers. She planted these trees in her yard for future Christmas trees. One of her greatest joys until well past 90 years of age was mowing her big lawn. She refused the help of anyone who offered!

After Fred retired, they were able to travel and visit places in the U.S. and also took a tour to Europe to see the places Fred had been during the war. They enjoyed winters at their Florida home where Charlotte tended her orange, grapefruit, and kumquat trees and flower gardens. In her spare time, Charlotte enjoyed sharing her love of the USA by stitching American flag refrigerator magnets. One of their favorite activities was attending the annual Packer-Bear game at Lambeau Field.

After Fred died in 1990, Charlotte spent more time volunteering at her church, organizing the annual bazaar, serving for funeral dinners, and helping where needed. She was also active in weekly Bible study, the 55+ group and Welfare Workers and served on the Homme Home Foundation Board. She faithfully continued to attend Trinity Lutheran Church each Sunday.

When she reached the age of 90, Charlotte decided to celebrate her birthday with a hot air balloon ride. Thanks to a friend from her hometown, she was able to fly over the farmland north of Wausau, rising higher than Rib Mountain, and land in the field near her home.

For the last two years Charlotte has been a resident at Mount View Care Center in Wausau where she was able to rest comfortably under the watchful eyes of hospice and her caregivers. Her legacy of Christian faith lives on in her family. God is faithful!

Funeral services will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday, October 26, 2013, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Ave., Wausau. Rev. Gary Schultz will officiate. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery on Grand Av. Visitation will precede the funeral beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Because Charlotte highly valued Christian education, memorials will be directed to Trinity Lutheran School Educational Grant Fund.

You may sign the family guestbook at

Funeral Home

Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Service
302 Spruce St Wausau, WI 54401
(715) 842-3993

Published in the Wausau Daily Herald on Oct. 24, 2013