Ewald G. Gerken, 89, of Cascade, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at Shady Rest Care Center in Cascade.
A private funeral Mass and burial was Thursday March 19, 2020 at St. Matthias Church with the Rev. Douglas Loecke presiding. Lector was Marcella Roe. Placing of the pall was done by Marcella Roe, Mary Bridget Gerken, Gabriella Young, Michaeleen Golay, Gus Gerken and Henri Gerken. Interment was at Mt Calvary Cemetery in Cascade. Due to the current corona virus threat, a celebration of life is postponed until a later date. Memorials may be given to St. Mathias Parish or to Salesian Missions, New Rochelle NY.
Casketbeaers for Ewald were Henri Gerken, Nicholas Gerken, Lee J. Roe III, Nathan Roe, Dylan Roe and Garrett Roe.
Ewald was born April 10, 1930, in Dubuque, son of Ewald F. and Ann (Schumaker) Gerken. He was a graduate of St. Columbkille High School in Dubuque. On Oct. 28, 1967, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth E. Hughes at St. Martin Catholic Church in Cascade. She preceded him in death June 11, 1994.
He was a member of the St. Martin Parish of the St. Thomas Aquinas Pastorate. Ewald was a member of the Brotherhood of Salesian Missions. He was also a member of the Boy Scouts of America, where he achieved Rank of Eagle Scout and was a Scout Leader.
Ewald was an avid carpenter and wood carver, an insatiable reader, and great story-teller. He was a beloved brother and a favorite uncle, taking on adventures as many nieces and nephews as he could cram into his VW Bug. Some of his happiest days were spent as a scout master in Cascade and as Salesian Brother at the Don Bosco Boys School near Huttonsville, West Virginia where he showed many young men what it meant to love God’s creation and live for Christ. He loved to tell stories of his “little Bosco Brothers” and kept close friendships with many of them all his life.
He was a loving husband and father and instilled a love of nature in all his children. He was quick with an old story or rhyme to brighten our day, a constant, quiet, gentle presence when we needed him. He was a friend and mentor to many in the community in all ages of life.
He is survived by six children, Marcella (Lee) Roe, of Temple Hill, Gus (Tina) Gerken, of Fairfax, Mary Bridget Gerken (Fiancé Patrick Jones) of Chicago, Ill., Gabriella (Josh) Young, of Iowa City, Henri (Paola) Gerken, of Queen Creek, Ariz., and Michaeleen (Bryan) Golay, of Clarksville, Ind.; 10 grandchildren, Lee (Becca) Roe III, Nathan (Chelsee) Roe, Dylan (Special Friend, Rachel) Roe, Garrett (Alisha) Roe, Erin Gerken, Nicholas Gerken, Gerard Gerken, Alec Gerken, Terry (Jennifer) Culbertson and Scott (Special Friend, Amanda) Culbertson; five great-grandchildren, Winston Roe, Clement Roe, Edward Roe, Eldon Culbertson, Elliot Culbertson; one brother, William (Donna Beresford) Gerken, of Farley; two sisters-in-law, Rosalie Hughes, of Cascade and Marilyn Hughes, of Dubuque; and many nieces and nephews.
He is also preceded in death by his parents; his wife; four brothers, Donald (Ann) Gerken,Adrian (Joan) Gerken, Daniel(Joyce) Gerken, and Loras (Virginia) (Marlene) Gerken; five sisters, Lousie (Wilfred) Coakley, Teresa (Donald) McCoy, Joan (Vernon) Larson, Dolores Gerken, and Mary (John) Temple; father and mother-in-law, Henry and Marcella Hughes; four brothers-in-law, Alfred Hughes, Cletus (Erna) Hughes, Milton Hughes, and Loras(Sally) Hughes; and several nieces and nephews
Special thanks to Angela Wink and the members of St. Mathias parish who visited him often and to his care givers both at Shady Rest and during his hospital stays at Mercy. Further gratitude is extended to his housekeepers, especially Janet, Carol, and Judy, whose help allowed him to live at home for so many years. Your assistance, attention and care brought a lot of joy to his life and comfort to his family.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.reifffuneralhomeinc.com.