Rodney “Rod” W. Wilke, age 79 of Le Sueur, died Thursday, May 27, 2021 at his home. Funeral service will be 2:00 pm on Friday, June 4 at the United Methodist Church in Le Sueur with Pastor Terry Horn officiating. Visitation will be from 5-7 pm on Thursday, June 3 at the Kolden Funeral Home in Le Sueur, and will continue on Friday at the church one hour prior to service time. Interment will be in Mound Cemetery at a later date.
Rod was born on June 12, 1941 to Alfred and Esther (Engel) Wilke in Willow Creek, MN. They moved to Le Sueur when he was a year old. He graduated from Le Sueur High School in 1959, and went on to study accounting at the University of MN for two years and then a year at Mankato State University. During his summers off from school he would work for his dad at Valley Lanes and Hotel Wilke. It was while working at his dad’s bowling alley in 1967 that he found his soul mate, Cheryle Nelson; they were united in marriage on July 10, 1971 at the United Methodist Church in Le Sueur.
Throughout high school and college he played basketball and baseball; and was on the Arlington A’s baseball team. He was a left-handed pitcher, and would often refer to himself as the “Big Left Hander”. Not only was Rod a good basketball and baseball player, he was a great bowler; and bowled on many men’s leagues.
In 1973 he and Cheryle owned and operated the Timeout Lounge in Le Sueur. In 1976 he started working for Green Giant in Savage. While working there the company name had changed a few times and so it was Silgan Containers that he retired from at the age of 67.
Rod really enjoyed being in his garage and spent a lot of time out there, where he was able to watch all the baseball he wanted. “What happens in the Garage, Stays in the Garage!”.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Cheryle; sons, Joe (significant other, Sue Wolter) Wilke of Le Sueur, Jay Wilke of Bryan, TX, Justin (significant other, Amber Sunderman) Wilke of Le Sueur, and Jerry Wilke of Le Sueur; grandchildren, Alec, Tanner, Issiah, Emily, Maddie, Carter, Jaxon, and Beckham; 2 great-grandsons, Isaac and Nathan; and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Violet Schwandt; and brother, Norman (Bernie) Wilke.
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