Cover photo for Richard "Dick" Gilbert Yonke's Obituary
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Richard

Richard "Dick" Gilbert Yonke

d. January 19, 2023

Dick passed away Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at the Artisan (Wyndham) at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. He was born September 20, 1932 in Bay City, Michigan, one of five children of Jonathan and Freda (Kriewall) Yonke. Dick resided in the Portage area since 1956.

He was preceded in death by a son, Richard Paul Yonke who was taken early at age 36 from brain cancer. He was also preceded in death by two sisters.

He was a 1950 graduate of Bay City Central High School, attended the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelors of Business Administration. He met the love of his life in 1948 and married Marilyn on October 24, 1953 who preceded him in death on September 20, 2018.

They were blessed with three wonderful children, Susan Lynn Lovely, Richard Paul (deceased) and Steven Wayne (Brenda) Yonke. Also surviving are grandsons Brandon (Kaitlyn) and Jacob Yonke.

Dick worked for his father during high school years as a painter, a skill he used throughout life, then ten years for Navistar (International Harvester) and for almost thirty years for The Upjohn Company where he retired in 1992 as a Director of Corporate Auditing. That position gave him the opportunity to travel to many Upjohn locations throughout the world to interact with many cultures and witness beautiful scenery. He was occasionally accompanied by his wife Marilyn to these memorable locations. Dick was awarded the prestigious Upjohn Award in 1985. Dick tried many sports but soon realized the good athletes needed someone to be a spectator so that he was. He always enjoyed being outdoors doing yard work and keeping up the houses. The many blossoms in the Spring made the back yard look like a park. Dick was a lifelong Lutheran and with Marilyn raised the family in a Christian environment. He was active in church life and over time held all offices and many more than once. His son Steve continues the tradition. For several years Dick was on the board of the Lutheran Association for Church Extension (LACE) an organization that loaned resources to build churches, parsonages, and schools. Dick served as a volunteer to the City of Portage for about nineteen years on the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission. He also was a fund raiser for WMU sports. In 1993 Dick and Marilyn purchased lake property on Hutchens Lake in Cass County, where in 2000 they replaced an old trailer with a manufactured home. Many, many wonderful days and weekends were spent there by Dick and Marilyn. Frequently they were joined by the children and grandchildren to picnic, work jigsaw puzzles, lounge, fish and watch the boys catch frogs in the nearby pond.

In 2017, Dick and Marilyn relocated to the Artisan (Wyndham) at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo, cultivating numerous lasting friendships while there.

Visitation for family and friends will be held Friday, January 27 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 411 E Centre Ave, Portage, MI 49002. A funeral service will be held Saturday, January 28 beginning with a visitation at 9:00am followed by a service at 10:00am at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2381 Romence Rd, Portage, MI 49024, with Pastor David Rau officiating.  After the service, burial will be held at Portage South Cemetery, immediately followed by a luncheon back at St. James around Noon.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Centrica Care Navigators (formerly Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan) or St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard "Dick" Gilbert Yonke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, January 28, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church

2381 Romence Road, Portage, MI 49024

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church

2381 Romence Road, Portage, MI 49024

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Luncheon

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church

2381 Romence Road, Portage, MI 49024

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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