Robert ‘Bob’ Hanke

Robert “Bob” Hanke, of Appleton, went to play golf on the greenest fairway of all and to sing with the choir of Angels at the 19th hole. A wonderful tenor voice, he joined the Lord’s Choir on Dec. 2, 2019, when he passed peacefully at Cherry Meadows Hospice in Appleton, surrounded by his family.

Bob was born Oct. 9, 1935, in Shawano to William and Albertina (Wolff) Hanke. He attended Wittenberg High School, where he met Elaine Day, his wife of 65 years. They married in October 1954.

Bob worked at the former Gilbert Paper Company in Neenah for many years, where he served as union president for many years, until retirement in 1994. After retiring, they spent many winters in Arizona where Bob was able to enjoy golf, his favorite sport, and softball, avoiding the cold in Wisconsin. Bob enjoyed playing cards. Sheepshead was his favorite game, and he was known to “place a bet” on anything for fun and challenge.

Bob had a beautiful voice and sang for many funerals and weddings. At one time, he sang with the McDowell Chorus. He also sang with the Y-Nots of Neenah/Menasha, joined by Elaine and others, visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities, to entertain residents.

Bob is survived by his wife, Elaine; his son, Shane; and two granddaughters, Rhiannon Hanke (Joey Sanborn) and Katelyn Flatoff (Travis). He leaves two great-grandsons, Eli and Orlen Flatoff. He is further survived by one sister, Jane Wendler, of Wittenberg; several sisters- and brothers-in-law, Marvel Adams, Sharon Wright, Lois Karpf, Dan and Kristy Day, Ken and Lynda Day, Warren and Deb Day, Larry and Mary Day and Carla Day Johnson. He leaves numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews who will all miss “Uncle Bob.”

He will be missed by his buddies, Drake, Wally and Mike, Norbie and Rich.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, William and Albertina Hanke; sisters, Dorothy Mathison, Ruth Barnowski and Patsy Siebert; and brothers, Melvin, Roger, George and Donald “Pete” Hanke. He was also preceded in death by three brothers-in-law, Leonard Adams, Bill Wright and Kenneth Karpf.

He was preceded in death by his daughter in 1989. Colleen, 32, died of a brain aneurysm. Fortunate people received organ transplants from Colleen’s untimely death and organ donation, due to the family’s generous spirit. Meeting the recipients and having some as a second family pleased Bob. A daughter born to that family is named Colleen.

A private service will be held at a future date.

The family wishes to thank the staff at AMC in Appleton and Cherry Meadows Hospice for their loving and compassionate care and comfort in Bob’s final days.

God knew he was suffering, knew he was in pain. He knew that he would never get well on earth again. He saw the road rough and the hills hard to climb, he closed his eyes, whispered softly, “Is it time?” Our hearts are broken, now he’s gone, but he didn’t go alone. Part of us went with him, when God called him home.
Westgor Funeral Home, 205 W. Doty Avenue, Neenah. 920-722-7151