Richard J. Henke, Sr., the son of Frank and Eva (Kohn) Henke, was born on a farm in rural Cherokee, Iowa, on March 13, 1921. He attended country school until the 8th grade, and then stayed home to help with the family farming operation.
Richard married Marcella “Sally” Theisen on January 7, 1948. They made their home on a farm west of Cherokee. Life for Richard was centered on farming with his family. He was on the cutting edge of new equipment technology, having had the first airplanter in Iowa. He was a Golden Harvest Seed Dealer at one time, and sat on the AMPI board of directors. He once held the position of Sheridan Township Justice of the Peace. He also worked at J.C. Penney and Peterson Motors. Richard was active in his children’s activities. He was a 4-H leader for many years, and was a member of the UNI Parent Association. When grandchildren came along, he enjoyed attending their sporting events. He loved playing board games with the family, and riding “The Mule”. He took great pride in his big garden and beautiful flower beds. He enjoyed making caramel at Christmas time and sharing it with his family and friends. Richard and Sally spent several winters in Texas, which they thoroughly enjoyed. They gained many new life-long friends during their time there.
Sally passed away in 2015, and Richard made his home at The Gardens in Cherokee. When his own health began to fail, he moved to Accura Healthcare in Cherokee, where he passed away on Saturday, February 17, 2018, at the age of 96 years, 11 months, 4 days. He was preceded in death by his wife; a brother, Raymond and sisters Angela and Delores.
Survivors include his children and their families: Rick (Susan) Henke of Rochester, IL, Dennis (Carolyn) Henke of Waterloo, IA, Karen Henke of Omaha, NE, Darwin (Carmen) Henke of Cherokee, IA, Duane (Marcia) Henke of Larrabee, IA, Konnie (Wally) Leonard of Cherokee, IA, Kim (Grant) Thompson of Thousand Oaks, CA, and Dan (Kathy) Henke of Rowlett, TX; 14 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; a brother, Cletus Henke of Cherokee; other relatives and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, February 23rd at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cherokee.