Cover photo for Robert 'Bob' Engelke's Obituary
Robert 'Bob' Engelke Profile Photo
1929 Robert 2016

Robert 'Bob' Engelke

July 11, 1929 — December 8, 2016


July 11, 1929
Sutherland, Iowa

December 8, 2016
Sanborn, Iowa

11:00 A.M. Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Zion Lutheran Church; Paullina, Iowa
Rev. Donald Erickson Officiating

Visitation will be after 4 P.M. Monday
with the family present from 5 to 7 P.M. Monday
at the Eldridge Family Funeral Home in Paullina

For All The Saints
Nearer My God To Thee
Beautiful Savior
Shall We Gather at the River
Organist: Angela Johannsen

Bob Engel Bill Engelke
Frank Fogelman Delbert Johnson
Don Magnussen Curt Rehder
Wayne Stewart

Graveside service
10:00 A.M. Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Prairie View Cemetery; Paullina, Iowa

Military graveside service by
Sutherland American Legion, Sutherland, Iowa

Family and friends are invited to join the family in the fellowship hall of the church following todays memorial service.

Arrangements under the care of the
Eldridge Family Funeral Home Paullina, Iowa

Robert Bob Engelke, the son of William Dietrich Dick and Emma (Meyer) Engelke was born July 11, 1929 on the family farm near Sutherland, Iowa. Bob was baptized on September 4, 1929 at Zion Lutheran Church in Paullina and was later confirmed on April 2, 1944 at Bethel Lutheran Church in Sutherland, Iowa. He graduated from Calumet High School in 1948. He began farming with his dad in the Sutherland area and ran a gravel business for several years. Bob served as an Army Combat Engineer with the 25th Division during the Korean Conflict from 1951 until 1953 when he returned to the Sutherland area. On November 26, 1961 he was united in marriage to Rita Appeldorn at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Sutherland, Iowa. After their marriage they moved to a farm near Sutherland for a few months. Then they moved to a farm three miles east and a half mile south of Paullina where they spent their entire married life. The couple raised their two children Scott and Kris. Rita preceded him in death on March 3, 2011. Bob remained on the family farm until recently. He passed away on Thursday, December 8, 2016 reaching the age of 87 years, 4 months and 27 days.
Bob was a member of Zion Lutheran Church where he was a former elder and a youth director with his wife, Rita. He was also a member of the Paullina Golf Club, the Sutherland American Legion, the REC board and a volunteer at Wonderland Theater. Community was a very important part of Bobs life and he strongly supported many organizations through the giving of his time and resources. Bob cherished his family, friends, community and country.
Left to cherish his memory are his two children, Scott Engelke of Paullina, Iowa; and Kris and her husband, Mike Noble of Minnetonka, Minnesota; two grandchildren, Emma and Jake Noble also other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita; his parents, step mother, Tena Mews Engelke; brothers, Donald and John Engelke and a sister, Elva Dau.


For this one farmer the worries are over,
lie down and rest your head,
Your time has been and struggles enough,
put the tractor in the shed. Years were not easy,
many downright hard, but your faith in God transcended,
Put away your tools and sleep in peace.
The fences have all been mended. You raised a fine family,
worked the land well and always followed the Son,
Hang up your shovel inside of the barn;
your work here on earth is done.
A faith few possess led your journey through life,
often a jagged and stony way,
The sun is setting, the cattle are all bedded,
and here now is the end of your day.
Your love of Gods soil has passed on to your kin;
the stories flow like fine wine,
Wash off your work boots in the puddle
left by blessed rain one final time.
You always believed that the good Lord would provide
and He always had somehow,
Take off your gloves and put them down,
no more sweat and worry for you now.
Your labor is done, your home now is heaven;
no more must you wait, Your legacy lives on,
your love of the land, and we will close the gate.
Nancy Kraayenhof.

A Celebration of Life!
Bob Engelke
Hey Michael!.....Rehdar! ..Hi ya Bets!!! Bobby!!!!... Hey Stewart!!!.... Patricia!!!.... Hey Scotty Boy!!!..... Whos boy/girl are you then?!....Hey Mouser (my nickname) or Hey Krissy!!!
Anyone who was lucky enough to call my Dad their friend was surely greeted in this way whenever he saw you all while he moved so quickly towards you that you thought you might collide and often accompanied with a strong handshake and maybe even a grasp of the forearm with the other hand. I know you can all picture it!
Dad loved life but was most passionate about the people in it. We always joked that he knew someone wherever we went and it didnt matter how far away. We could be on vacation across the country somewhere and sure enough hed run into someone he knew and wed just shake our heads.

But if he DIDNT know you, youd better be prepared to be met by Bob Engelke. The inquisition often started with Youre whos boy/girl? if you lived near him or How do you know my daughter/son? if not. And followed with LOTS of questions until he felt he knew you well enough to already be friends. He was always trying to make a connection to something or someone he knew or loved. He even maintained that curiosity with the staff and aids in Sanborn. One girl stopped me and said, I just love your Dad! He is so kind to me and keeps telling me how good I am at what I do. I then told her a bit more about him and his background and tears sprang to her eyes. She said, Now I have goosebumps. We will take such good care of him.

Growing up I thought kids liked to come to my house not to see me, but my Dad and Mom. Dad had a way of making every kid feel special: taking note of a play they made in a football game last week and what number was on their jersey (even from another town!); telling them a story of how he knew their parents, asking them what they liked to do, etc. Kids blossomed in front of him when they saw that he cared enough to pay attention to the details of their lives.

Dad also knew how to maintain friendships. He valued spending time with friends and hearing about everything going on in their lives or their childrens lives. He loved to visit and dropped in often on his friends shouting a quick Are you decent!? or Im not staying for dinner.when dropping in at dinner. He used to stop in to see my Grandma Appeldorn every single day as she was aging and living alone they had such a strong bond. But then shed get jealous after spotting him sneaking over to visit Ethel next door after he left. Why stop at just ONE place?

And with his love of people came a great spirit of generosity. Where there was help needed he tried to provide it. I cant recall how many times he picked someone up off the road and brought them HOME for a hot meal (to my Moms amazement). One man took up residence under a bridge near the farm where my Dad stopped his truck daily to holler Hey Art you there? and would take him out to lunch and even helped him find some temporary work painting signs for area businesses. After Mom was gone, Dad continued giving by treating all of us (including my wonderful Mom-in-law) to trips to Mexico and Florida. He always believed in sharing what he had with those he loved and even with strangers.

He was also generous with his community and his country helping with funding for various projects but often donating his time. He valued what the community gave to him and wanted to give back: at the golf course, the lake, the movie theater, Zion (where he was an elder and he and my Mom were youth directors for a time), restaurant support, the Sutherland Legion, the REC, land conservation at our farm and serving in the Army in Korea. He instilled in us a great sense of patriotism and love of country and was so proud of his days serving in Korea. He dearly loved the friends he made during that time even getting to see one of them a couple of months-ago after decades apart.

Dad also loved to be active and busy. In his younger days, horses were his passion. He could ride beautifully and had an innate ability to work with even the toughest horses. He loved his years at the Sutherland Saddle Club, trail rides, roping with his cow herd and simply having horses around. He even tried his hand at riding a bucking horse in a local rodeo as Montana Slim until he was recognized with an Isnt that Bobby Engelke?!

He golfed frequently, read books voraciously, enjoyed car races, sporting events, fairs and airshows. And he especially loved to fish. He loved being in nature - any body of water was an opportunity but he loved rivers the most. Part of it was the movement of the water but he also romanticized where the water had been and where it was going. He always had such a curiosity about the world around him. He could watch the ships in and out of the harbor in Duluth for hours with such wonderment about where theyd been and where they were going. He dreamed of going to the Panama Canal someday.

Dads curiosity about the world made for a childhood filled with museums and learning experiences. He wanted to see and learn about new things there cant be a museum, monument, fair or airshow in the area that he hasnt visited. His principal encouraged him to go to college where he would have studied engineering but Dad wanted to stay home and farm. Im sure youve all heard one of his favorite expressions, Any dummy can be a farmer. Well, he proved to his principal that he could be BOTH a farmer and while continuing to learn about life and certainly not dumb.

Family also meant the world to Dad. He swore he would never get married until he met a little 5 2 spitfire named Rita. She told me she knew she would marry him when he kissed her goodnight the first time. But she almost gave up on his bachelor ways until he begged her to marry him. Some friends told her not to do it because he was 11 years older and would hold her back someday. They evidently didnt know him too well He told me he I thought I was in charge the first year and then I wasnt anymore. But Dad actually seemed proud that she ran the show and bragged about her constantly to anyone who would listen.

Mom probably really was a saint learning to cope with my Dads crazy enthusiasm and impulsiveness - impromptu dinners with cattle buyers, too-hard hugs, spur of the moment fishing excursions and fish frys, his speedy (she called rammy) way of doing everything and his countless accidents. Not much rattled her and she definitely was never bored!

Childhood was great growing up on a farm with a Dad who always wanted to do something. We worked hard but he also knew how to play and made sure we had time for both. Our family vacations were usually somewhere out west where we visited lots of museums and historic places. But it never seemed dull because of his enthusiasm to learn and talk about the things we saw.

But it wasnt until I was older and had my own family that I really appreciated and better understood Dads love of family. I never phoned or visited without being greeted with an enthusiastic Hey Krissy! Or Hey Mouser. (nickname he gave me when I was a shy child). When I introduced him to Mike (and Mike bought him a turkey leg at a fair) he asked my Mom, Do you think she picked him just for me? To which Mom rolled her eyes.

He and Mike had a special relationship with a mutual love of history, military movies, learning, a good steak and ice cream! and lots of joking and teasing. I fell in love with both of them all over again for the bond they forged even if I was sometimes the focus of their jokes.

And when Emma and Jake came along Dad jumped headfirst into Grandpa mode! He and Mom came to see Emma about every other week when she was first born. He would just sit and stare at her and marvel. At one point it became so intense I had to tell him she was getting intimidated by all the staring! And then Jake arrived and he had his little fishing and war movie partner.

Nothing was too good for the grandchildren ponies, a kid-sized fully electrified playhouse in the orchard, vacations, toys, etc. But the best was when the kids could go to Camp Grandma-Grandpa for weeks at a time. Non-stop adventure on a working farm, getting terribly dirty, going to Pistol Petes, kittys everywhere and on-and-on. Mom was the organizer and Grandpa jumped in as one of the kids. He brought Jake fishing and building lion traps on the shore while they waited for in-frequent bites.

He has followed their every step through the years and was so proud to be at Emmas graduation party this year which he never thought he would get to see. And he was Jakes biggest fan in hockey. After Mom passed, he drove up to see countless games during a dream season always marveling at Jakes skating. As you imagine, he talked with all the parents throughout the season and was fully embraced by our hockey family in MN. He attended a game at Thanksgiving and was warmly greeted by so many of them. His pride in his grandchildren was enough to rival any grandparent!

Dads faith was an anchor in his life. He was not flashy about it but he studied it and tried to become a better man through it. He grew up with a mother who many called a saint in her reverent faith and seemed to be along for the ride with my church-active Mom earlier in their marriage. But I saw as the years went on and he aged, he was trying to study his faith more on his own as testified by the many bibles, bible studies and devotionals always at hand on his table. He feared he might not be good enough to go to heaven and I tried to assure him that he definitely had a spot waiting for him. Although I did tease him that heaven (and my Mom) were not yet ready for his boisterous and accident-prone arrival!

When the hospice chaplain first came to meet my Dad, he watched him from a distance for a bit and observed to me, Boy - he has a larger-than-life personality! He could tell from the first moments. It is hard to encapsulate that kind of Man and Im sure all of us could recount our memories for hours. When I spoke with him a few hours before he passed, the word he kept repeating was Amazing. I believe he was starting to get a glimpse of what he could see coming and what we all anticipate someday. But I also believe that same word AMAZING could be applied to him.

Love you now and forever, Dad.
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