Lee Allen Lemke, age 85 of West Salem, IL passed into Eternity on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at his home, surrounded by his family.
Lee was born on June 9, 1928 in West Salem to Hulda Mae (Clodfelter) and Charles Frederick Lemke.
On November 14, 1952, he married Shirley Marie Montgomery at the West Salem Methodist Church parsonage, and they have enjoyed over 61 years of togetherness.
Lee is a veteran who served his country during the Korean War, earned the rank of Corporal and was stationed in Tokyo for two of the almost four years of his enlistment in the United States Air Force.
He worked hard at a variety of jobs which included the oilfields, where he "trained the next generation of roughnecks", in area factories, and his most loved occupation: that of being a farmer. His love of the land and finding serenity in nature, led him to name their home place "The Wild Wood Farm". It was there that he enjoyed cutting wood, keeping the big ole barn painted bright red, riding John Deere lawnmowers and motorcycles. Having bonfires, wiener roasts and hayrides were favorite activities that he planned and carried out; and he would be found playing a tune or two on his harmonica, as the grandchildren and great-grandchildren would spontaneously dance to Grandpa's music. Another treat everyone looked forward to was the Big Red Soda floats that he became famous for at the Lemke gatherings. The Wild Wood Farm was their home for over 50 years. Lee was also a member of the Berryville Christian Church for over 50 years where he served as an elder. He was a lifetime of the VFW and a member of the West Salem American Legion. Lee was a loyal husband, great father and grandfather who loved his family and was an inspiration to all.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers: Karl, Harold, Charles and John, and one sister, Imogene.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Lemke of West Salem, one daughter, Barbara Ann (Michael) Schmit of Mt. Carmel, IL and two sons: Paul (Jean Bunn) Lemke of Nashville, TN and Ricky Lee (LuAnne) Lemke of Shakopee, MN. He is also survived by one sister, Mildred Ann (Don) Tarpley of Bloomington-Normal, IL and one brother, Roy N. Lemke of Peoria, IL. Nine grandchildren also survive: Susan (Brian) Cronk of New York, NY, Sara (Greg) Addington of Ann Arbor, MI, Jason (Stephanie) Tarpley of Mt. Carmel, IL, Cori (Pat) Ferguson of Mt. Carmel, IL, Philip (Rachel) Tarpley of Roxana, IL, Dan (Kristen) Peters of Shakopee, MN, Hannah Lemke of Sarasota, FL, Joshua Lemke of Shakopee, MN and Aaron Schmit of Mt. Carmel, IL
Ten great-grandchildren also survive: Michael, Brianna, Olivia, Victoria, Michaela, Chloe, Maia, Marissa, Caroline, Kylee and one soon to arrive. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
Visitation for Lee Lemke will be held from 6PM to 8PM on Friday January 24, 2014 at Ingram Funeral Home in West Salem, IL.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10AM on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Berryville Christian Church in Berryville, IL. Burial will follow at the Moravian Cemetery in West Salem, IL with military rites at the graveside.
Memorials may be made to the Oil Belt Christian Service Camp Building Fund or St. Jude's Childrens Hospital.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.ingramfh.net
Ingram Funeral Home of West Salem, IL is entrusted with the arrangements.