Gordon Kanke

Gordon Kanke, the son of Glenn and Irene (Vogler) Kanke, was born Jan. 30, 1938, in Vinton and passed from this life March 7 at his home in Jefferson.

He lived his life to the age of 81 years, one month and seven days.

Gordy graduated from high school in 1956 and joined the United States Air Force, where he served for two years. After his discharge, Gordy moved to California, where he lived for three years and drove cars in stock car races. He was married to Linda Lockwood and they had a daughter, Sherry. They were later divorced. 

Gordy moved back to Iowa and lived in the Cedar Rapids area, where he worked for the Wilbert Burial Vault Company for 20 years. In 1964, Gordy was married to Kathleen Gooden and they raised three children: Kevin, Bill and Brenda. Kathleen and Gordy were later divorced.

Gordy then worked for Williams Gas Co. as a pipeline supervisor and lived in Hartley. In 1979, Gordy was married to Bernice Hervey and she later died of cancer. Gordy retired in 1994 and worked part-time for farmers in the Hartley area.

While working a job for the pipeline near Boone, Gordy met Karen Schwarz and they struck up a relationship. Karen and Gordy later moved to Hartley, where they made their home together until 2015, when they moved to Jefferson. Karen passed away in October of 2019. 

During his life, Gordy enjoyed fishing, playing golf and pool, bowling and camping. While with Karen, they enjoyed traveling throughout the continental U.S.A. and took a cruise to Alaska. He enjoyed spending many hours a week in his basement making fishing lures that were sold by a sporting goods company. 

While in Jefferson, Gordy joined Jefferson Elks Lodge 2306 and enjoyed visiting with the members and especially enjoyed playing in a 25-cent poker group on Thursday afternoons.  

A visitation to celebrate Gordy’s life was held March 14 at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson, where an Elks Memorial Service was held followed by military honors conducted by the Offutt Air Force Base Honor Guard. Burial will be made in the Tipton Masonic Cemetery in Tipton at a later date. 

Surviving Gordy were his children: Bill (Lori) Kanke, of St. Joseph, Mo.; Brenda (Greg) Poole, of Rehoboth Beach, Del.; grandchildren: Gabriel and Alan Perenick, Ethan (Chelsea), Matthew, Phillip Kanke and Sara and Dayle Poole; great-grandchildren: Elizabeth, Jude and Benjamin Kanke and Jenna Strable; a brother: Richard (Colleen) Kanke, of Orlando, Fla.; and a sister: Karen (Jack) James, of Boone, N.C.; stepchildren: Amy (Brian) Strable, of Ankeny; and Tony (Mila) Strable, of West Des Moines.

Those who preceded him in death were his parents; wife Bernice; partner in later life, Karen; children Kevin Kanke and Sherry Preneick; and a brother and a sister. 

Friends and family were invited to a time of lunch time fellowship at the Jefferson Elks Lodge following the services.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

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