Charles “Charlie” B. Hanke, 82

Charles “Charlie” B. Hanke, 82, of Alexandria, formerly of Villard, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, at Alomere Health Hospital in Alexandria, to be reunited with his wife and best friend, Carol, whom he missed dearly.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, April 23, at Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood, with visitation beginning at 10 am and running until the time of service. Inurnment will take place in Hudson Township Cemetery, Douglas County. Arrangements are with Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood.

Charles “Charlie” Berton Hanke was born in Silver Lake on Feb. 22, 1939. He was the third of four children born to Marion Ann (Merrill) and Alvin “Oscar” August Hanke. Charlie had a good sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye, and was said to be somewhat of a trickster. After graduating from Villard High School in 1958, he was enlisted in the US Army Reserves.

On June 12, 1960, Charlie married his high school sweetheart, Carol Vay Hale. They raised their three children, Bradley Berton, Bonita Vay, and Michelle Kay, in Villard. Charlie and Carol wore matching windbreakers and held hands on their evening walks. They spent numerous hours tending to their large gardens, canning and freezing their harvest. They enjoyed camping in state parks and forests with an occasional stop at a casino to play some penny and nickel slots. They played Yahtzee together, making silly little bets like the loser had to make coffee that morning or popcorn that evening. They modeled a strong and healthy marriage to their children and never forgot to add in some fun.

Charlie spent most of his working years as a machinist at various area machine shops in the Villard area. At the time of his retirement in 2009, he was employed at Massman Automation Designs.

Charlie’s hobbies included watching sports, studying road atlases, listening to music (classic country, polka or classical music), woodworking, hunting, fishing, watching birds and area wildlife. In his later years he exchanged his hunting rifle for a camera as he sat in the deer stand. Numerous hours were spent enjoying his flower gardens, filled with all colors of irises, peonies and other perennials. He was generous with his vegetable garden harvest, filling up 5-gallon buckets with freshly dug potatoes and onions and freshly picked tomatoes and peppers and sending them home with his kids when they’d visit. He also enjoyed making bread and homemade jam. He loved oatmeal raisin cookies and pie. When asked what kind of pie was his favorite, he’d often respond with a smile and say, “the round kind.”

Charlie passed on his love of nature to his kids and grandkids. He looked forward to large family camping trips and get-togethers. He also passed on his love for games – rarely missing an opportunity to play Yahtzee, Liars Dice, UNO or Up and Down the River, which were among his favorites to play with his family. He loved spending time with all of his grandkids and watching them grow.

Charlie is survived by his three children, Brad (Tammy Kluver) Hanke of Villard, Bonnie (Clint) Althaus of Melrose and Michelle (Matt) Starry of Superior, Wis.; nine grandchildren, Brenda, Bryan, Jackie, Brianna, Joshua, James, Jennifer, Mehla and Curran; six great-grandchildren, Brody, Kennedy, McKenzie, William, Laney and Owen; along with three siblings, Judy Stueve of Carlos, Michael (Yvonne) Hanke of Vernal, Utah, and Ray (Laura) Hanke of Billings, Mont.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Carol in 2006; a sister-in-law, Bonnie Hanke; a brother-in-law, Gene Stueve; and a nephew, Calvin Stueve.

A special thanks to family and friends who took the time to call, send cards, keep him in your thoughts and/or visit Charlie. Also, a special thanks to the staff he enjoyed getting to know through conversation, teasing, having popcorn and playing cards at Nelson Gables in Alexandria and the nurses that would care for him three days a week at CentraCare-Alexandria Dialysis.

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