Norman P. YahnkeNovember 7, 1932 ~ May 24, 2017 (age 84)
Norman Paul Yahnke was born November 7, 1932 at home in rural Cataract, WI to Catherine O'Neill Yahnke and Paul Rudolph Yahnke,. He entered his Heavenly Home on May 24, 2017.
Education was extremely important to Norman. He began first grade at age 4, attending Printz Creek School. He went to High School in Sparta, rooming with the Thurston family as there were no busses his first year. Norman dropped out of high school at age 12 to take over farming duties while his father was ill but returned to high school and graduated in 1949 at age 16. Even after graduation, Norman was involved in education. As a young adult, he enjoyed helping at Printz Creek school functions, cutting wood for the school, setting up stages at Christmas, and serving as President of the P.T.A., with his future mother-in-law serving as Vice President. He continued his own education later in life taking adult Agriculture courses and has always been the best cheerleader in his children's and grandchildren's educations.
Norman modeled a very strong work ethic. He worked at various farms, Habelman's cranberry marsh, the pickle station in Sparta, and driving semi, but he always returned to help with the home farm when the work got behind. Norman was drafted in 1956 and served in the US Army, Signal Corp unit for two years, stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state.
He met Barbara Thomas at a Printz Creek school Christmas program in December 1959. She had walked there to watch her young neighbor boys participate. Norman offered them a ride home and that was the "beginning" -- to this day the Grant boys take credit for this nearly 57-year marriage. Norman and Barbara were united in marriage on Sept 17, 1960.
Together Norm and Barb began farming and rearing six children who throughout life shared in the farming adventure. Their children are: Michael Norman (deceased 2010), Michelle Louise (James Keener), Phillip Paul (Kris Burkwalt), David Charles (Kim Kosanda), Amy Catherine (Darrin Nelson) , and James Robert (Maria Walters).
Norman loved sports, having played baseball for the Cataract team as a young man. As a parent he coached softball for St. Johns parochial school, attended every ball game possible (softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer) his children and grandchildren participated in (100 games one season) until ill health prevented it. He also supported his daughter's love of horsemanship - trailering horses to Eau Claire or wherever so they could join long county-to-county rides. And as a good Wisconsin resident, Norman was an avid Packers, Badgers, and Brewers fan.
Norman also loved to play cards. Many evenings were enjoyed with his children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors around the card table. "Pass" was rarely spoken by Norman.
Left to carry on his legacy are his wife Barbara, five children and five son- and daughter-in laws, 17 grandchildren: Amanda, Jessica, Sam, Becca, Ginny, Kirsten, Nick, Ben, Allie, Zach, Dani, Kate, Bree, Wes, Annie, Ronald, and Joseph; two great-grandchildren, Ethan and Rebecca; his sister, Louise Wilson, brother, Harlan Yahnke (Dorthy), sister-in-law, Carolyn Thomas, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Norman was preceded in death by his son Mike, his parents, parent-in-laws, two infant sisters, his brother John F. Yahnke, brother-in-laws Robert Thomas and Robert Wilson, and life-long friend Norbert Brandt.
A Funeral Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, at the Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, with Rev. Robbie Nowicki officiating. Burial with full military honors provided by VFW Post #2112 will follow in Cataract Cemetery, Cataract. A luncheon will follow the committal at the Cataract United Methodist Church. The family requests that memorials be given to Cataract United Methodist Church.
Family and friends are invited to call at the funeral home on Saturday, from 1 p.m. until the time of services. Online condolences may be offered to the Yahnke family at www.schanhoferfh.com.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.