Marvin Berke lived by his goals: “Be a good husband, be a good dad, be a good grandpa"


Marvin Berke (1950-2023)

Marvin Kent Berke, 72, of Rockton, Illinois, passed away peacefully into the arms of Jesus on Friday, January 20, 2023, at Gulf Coast Medical Center, Ft. Meyers, Florida. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Wanda of 51 years and his children, Spencer Berke and daughter Melissa Barnhart.

Marvin Berke was born November 24, 1950, in DeKalb, Illinois, the son of Tilmen and Viola (Kirkhus) Berke. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church and confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in DeKalb. He attended DeKalb public schools, graduating from DeKalb High School in 1968. He graduated from Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota in 1970, and earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Northern Illinois University in 1973. He met his soul-mate Wanda Olmanson at Bethany College. The couple married June 26, 1971 at Norseland Lutheran Church, Norseland, Minnesota.

After graduating, Marvin began his career with DeKalb Ag Research in Esmond, Illinois. Through the next 27 years, he and his family were transferred to Harlingen, Texas; Grinnell, Iowa; Ft. Dodge, Iowa; Oelwein, Iowa; Bloomington, Illinois, and Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

When DeKalb Ag Research closed, he was hired by Dairyland Seed. He was employed there from 1993 to 2015. The family moved to Rockton in 1994. He retired in 2015 due to medical issues. Throughout his career, Marvin received many awards for his sales achievements.

Marvin and Wanda were blessed with two children, Spencer (Tara) of Roscoe, Illinois and Melissa Barnhart (Bud) of Wheaton, Illinois, and six grandchildren: Lily, Greyson and Talley Berke, and Madeline, Elizabeth, and Benjamin Barnhart.

Marvin’s goal in life was to be a good husband, a good dad, and a good grampa/poppie. He found great joy following his grandchildren in all of their athletic and school events

He struggled with diabetes his entire adult life. With support from Wanda, he had a very fulfilled life, including playing golf, his favorite sport.

After his retirement, Arvin found joy in working with and consulting amputees around the Rockford area through Amputee Resource Network Coalition. He was a member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Rockton, Illinois, serving on the Finance Board and the Home Free Burn the Mortgage Committee.

Marvin was extremely proud of his Norwegian heritage, He and Wanda visited his Olsen relatives in Helgeland, Norway and hosted relatives in their home. He was a proud member of the Sons of Norway Valhall Lodge, District 5, in Rockford, for 30 years.

Marvin is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren: brother, Larry (Kay) DeKalb, IL, sister Phyllis Fischer, Plymouth, MN; sister-in-law Diane Berke, Rockford, Il, nephews and nieces Jeff  Berke; Andrew Berke; Ron Berke; Randy Berke, Jennifer McVean; and Heidi Pyrros.Special cousins Debi Nicholson, Darla Massier, Dick Berke, and Julie Berke.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Don Berke.

Visitation will be held at McCorkle Funeral Home, 767 N. Blackhawk Blvd, Rockton, Il, Sunday, January 29, 1 -4 p.m. A burial service to be held Monday, January 30, at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 511 W. Rockton,  at 11 a.m. Burial takes place at Fairview Cemetery in DeKalb at 3 p.m. Visitors are asked to wear red, white or blue clothing in honor of Marvin’s Norwegian heritage.

More News from Rockton
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified