Fairbank: Eldon Kenneth Schmidtke age 93 passed away on May 31, 2015 at Mercy Plus Living Center in Oelwein. Eldon was born December 20, 1921 near Oelwein, IA the son of Rudolph and Mareva (Sheeley) Schmidtke. He attended school in Stanley, IA and helped on the family farm while growing up. Eldon served his country in the U.S. Army as a Staff Sergeant during WWII from 1942-1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic actions while fighting in Italy. Before Eldon left for Europe he was stationed at Camp Fannin in Tyler, TX where he met Ruby Johnson. After Eldon was discharged he reconnected with Ruby and they were married July 3, 1945 in Independence, IA. They celebrated 59 years of marriage before she died in 2004. From that union came three sons, Dick (Kate) of Grain Valley, MO, Charlie (Cathie) and Duane (Carma) of Fairbank, IA and one daughter, Linda of Marion, IA. Also there are eleven grandchildren, Alan, Dawn, Amber, Angie, Rose, Adam, Clancy, Eric, Brian, Megan, Liz and 10 great-grandchildren; Brianna, Steven, Emma, Abilene, Izabella, Scarlett, Elliott, Melanie, Emillio, Camila and a baby boy due anyday. Other survivors are one sister, Dorothy Willingham of Oelwein, two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Schmidtke of Elkader and Doris Johnson of Tyler, TX, one brother-in-law, Wilbur Nading of West Union, Helen Hillman of Oelwein who he married in 2006 and later divorced. Eldon was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, Leo, Harold, Donald, Robert and Harry along with three sisters, Lois Harper, Doris Nading and Lavon Clay. Eldon started farming north of Fairbank in 1947 until retiring in 2006. He also opened El’s Town & Country Grocery Store in Hazleton from 1959 until 1962. Eldon’s great love was pitching slo-pitch softball, he didn’t start until he was 66 years old and finally hung up his glove when he turned 80.
Services: 10:30 am on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Fairbank.
Visitation: 4-7 pm on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at Woods Funeral Home in Fairbank and for one hour before services Wednesday at the church.
Burial: Fairbank Cemetery in Fairbank with Military Rites conducted by the Fairbank American Legion Fortsch-Duffy Post 552.
Memorials: a memorial fund has been established in his name.