Zarnke, Gertrude

Posted: Thu 12:05 PM, Oct 17, 2013
Funeral Home: Helke
Gertrude joined the saints on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 after a full and rich life. She was born on the family farm on March 4, 1922 to Gustav and Louise (Giese) Parsch in the town of Wausau, attended by the doctor who arrived on horse and cutter in a late winter blizzard. Gertrude was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church, town of Easton and attended the one room schoolhouse of the parish. She graduated from Wausau High School class of 1940. Her first job was at the Wausau Farmer Store on Third Street (now the Wausau Mall), before working in the Research Department at Marathon Corporation Chemical Division in Rothschild for the next 10 years.
Gertrude married the love of her life Norman John Zarnke on May 27, 1950 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau. They were blessed with three children Thomas (Mary), Woodbury, MN, Stephanie (James) Wanish, Wausau, and Dr. Mark (Dr. JoAnn), Rockford, IL. She has been further blessed with eight grandchildren, Matt (Becky) Zarnke, Alyssa (Duncan) MacLeod, Joshua (April) Wanish, Megan (Eric) Ramthun, Nathaniel Wanish, Rachel, Allison and Christian Zarnke, seven great grandchildren, Kenzie, Caden, Cael, Gabriella, Jolie, Jacob, Oliver and two sisters-in-law, Edna Mae Parsch and Ione Borth, both of Wausau. She is preceded by her beloved husband Norman, parents, siblings Harold, Lorinda and Norman and her in-laws Doris Parsch, Walter Runzheimer, Gerhard Borth and Floyd and Nathalie Scott.
Her dedication to her faith and the Wausau community was demonstrated in her many activities outside the home. Gertrude was quite active in hospital volunteer work. She was president of the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and helped steer the merger of the Memorial and St Mary’s auxiliaries to become what is now Aspirus Volunteers. Gertrude was a past president of the Aspirus Volunteers and volunteered in the surgical waiting area for 30 years. Gertrude and Norman were founding members of St Mark’s Lutheran Church, Wausau. At St Mark’s she served on numerous committees, taught Sunday School, sang in the adult choir, and served on the Christian Evangelism Committee. Gertrude was President of the Ladies Guild, District 2nd Vice President for the LWML, and District Chairman for Leadership Training.
Throughout her life she enjoyed family activities and travel throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and South America, all connected to Lutheran outreach. At home, she was a wonderful mother, an accomplished seamstress, Bridge partner and happy golfer.
Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, October 19, 2013 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 600 Stevens Dr., Wausau. Reverend Bruce Lamont and Reverend Chris Sansom will officiate. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Helke Funeral Home, Wausau and at the church on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services. You may sign our family guest book at

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal Life” John 3:16

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