Alfred H. Gehrke

Jun 2, 1918 – Mar 2, 2016

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Alfred H. Gehrke

Alfred H. Gehrke, of Kent, WA, passed away on March 2, 2016.  Alfred was born June 2, 1918, in Genesee, Idaho to Hugo and Barbara Gehrke.  He grew up on a farm where he got in shape for his high school football team by hefting 50 pound bales of hay.  On March 6, 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Force.  During World War II he was stationed in French North Africa.  He had obtained the rank of Staff Sargent when he was honorably discharged from the military on June 9, 1945.  He married the love of his life, Ida Graf, of Baltimore, MD on June 16, 1946.  Al and Ida met through the Luther League Pen Pal Club.  They were married at Faith Lutheran Church in Baltimore and their honeymoon was the road trip west to their farm in Idaho.  Al and Ida moved to Kent, WA with their 4 children in 1955.  Al worked as a machinist for a company doing sub-contracting work for Boeing Aerospace Company.  Al and Ida had two more children after moving to Kent and they lived in the West Hill neighborhood of Kent for thirty years.

He was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Des Moines.  Most Sundays found him welcoming attendees with his great smile and friendly greeting in addition to ushering.  He always enjoyed helping out in the nursery.

Al coached girls’ softball teams for many years.  He made it a point to see that all the girls on the team got to play.  Teamwork and having fun was more important than winning every game.

Al was a supportive father, attending every extra-curricular or sporting event that he could which involved his children.

Al was proud of his many bowling trophies and loved watching football in any form.  He played senior slow pitch softball when many his age were using walkers.  He took delight in working on his lawn and in his garden when he got home from work.  But more delightful was watching his children and neighbor kids playing touch football, volleyball, lawn darts and croquet on the lawn.

Alfred Gehrke was looked to for a source of love, strength an humor.  He was always surrounded by love, because he would bring it to you if there wasn’t enough in your life.

Alfred was pre-deceased by his parents, wife Ida, and sister Gladys Rieke.  He is survived by his six children: Grace David, David Gehrke, Joyce Mandau, JoAnne Gehrke, Darlene Gehrke and Carol McNeley and 5 grand-children: Julie McCoy, Jaime Peniche, Matthew Gehrke, Joshua Gehrke and Kristin McNeley.  A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 10:30 AM, at Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Washington.  Donations may be made to Grace Children’s Center at Grace Lutheran Church.



Jackie and Ron Van Pool
Seattle , WA
Apr 4, 2016

Al was a greeter at Grace Lutheran and he always was so loving and always made me feel especially at home. Al and Ida were both so very special to Ron and I.

Mel Nebelsieck
Nine Mile Falls, Wa
Mar 11, 2016

The Nebelsieck family knew the Gehrke family as neighbors in Genesee, Id. and as members of St. John's Lutheran Church in Genesee. My grandmother, Amelia Olga Gehrke married my grandfather Dedrich Herman Nebelsieck 2/20/1906. Amelia was a sister of Hugo. I have fond memories of visiting with and playing at the Gehrke farm outside of Genesee in the early 50's. I am happy to hear that you were close to your dad and still a close family.

Linda Morris & Shayah
Normandy Park, WA
Mar 11, 2016

Al will always, forever and infinitely hold a sparkle in our hearts. We miss him so deeply beyond words. Smiles, humor, prayer and hugs were welcoming in our visits with Al. I would say to Al, "God Bless You!" Al replied "He already has!" We've had many-many wonderful visits. When at the Foundation House Al had many crosses in his room and also hanging from his window. In the evening he would watch as we walked to the car and beacon his flashlight to us to say goodbye from his window. We left with a heartwarming smile. Al was proud of you David when you ran for Judge. He loved each of you so-so much! Your dad was good friend a forever friend. We love you Al so very much -hugs to Ida in Heaven. We send our deepest heartfelt love to each of you -David, Carol, Darlene, Grace, Joyce, Joanne Gehrke and family. We are so thankful for Al in our lives! Your Dad was the best!


Kimberly Adam
Tacoma, Wa
Mar 10, 2016

I'm so very sorry for your loss of your Dad, thank you for sharing his wonderful life story here, what a gentle man.Take good care of each other...

Randy Madrid
Seattle, Wa
Mar 10, 2016

Nancy Mayes (Broyles)
Wexford, PA
Mar 10, 2016

My heartfelt condolences to the family, I know that my Mom and Dad were good friends with Alfred and Ida and they are all probably catching up after all these years. I don't know if anyone of you kids knew this, but Alfred and Ida were also my Godparents, and because my dad had already passed away when I got married, Alfred walked me down the aisle in his place. He was truly a wonderful man and will be greatly missed my all.

Keith and jan Eldridge
Buckley, Wa
Mar 10, 2016

Al was the epitome of a loving Christian. He exuded love and good cheer, and always had a sparkle in his eye and a smile on his face! He will be missed! A long and well lived lufr. Say hi to Ida for us!

Marlys Bowen
Kent, WA
Mar 7, 2016

My sympathy to the Gehrke family. I want to share how Al touched my life in a way I so appreciated and will never forget. My young daughter was in Bluebirds and a father-daughter banquet was planned. Being a single mom tore at my heart as I had no relatives here and no one to go to the banquet with her. i was a relatively new member of Grace so Al didn't know me well when I asked him if he might be willing to go to the banquet with my daughter. Without hesitation he said he would be happy to. She had a wonderful time thanks to this kind and caring man

Cheryl Harten
Rockhampton, Australia, Au
Mar 7, 2016

Hi. Our deepest sympathies to you all at this sad time. Pauline & George wish to send their condolences. Mum has fond memories, & is very frail. Thinking of you all.

Kathy (McArthur) Burris
Renton, WA
Mar 7, 2016

Great neighbors! Baseball, wooden hydroplanes pulled behind our bikes - hours and hours of fun. Mr. and Mrs. Gehrke were always welcoming to the neighborhood kids (20+). The smile never left Mr. Gehrke's face. A special time when life seemed simpler. Condolences to the family.

Susan McCormack Mitchell
Renton, WA
Mar 6, 2016

Condolences to the Gehrke family. You father was such a fixture at Sunnycrest Elementary - it seemed he was always at every event, and a big part of the planning as well. I think everybody knew him! God bless his memory.

Barbara claybaugh
Federal way, Wa
Mar 6, 2016

Chuck and I knew al & Ida as members at Grace Lutheran church. We lost touch with them but will always remember as always smiling and friendly to all they met. Our sympathy to the family.

Lucille Bredberg
Des Moines, WA
Mar 6, 2016

My sympathy to the Gehrke family. I have so many happy memories of Al and Ida at various events we attended at Grace Lutheran. They were truly full of love, and fun. I feel honored to have had them as friends for many years.

Shannon Neely-Lindeman
West Seattle, wa
Mar 6, 2016

My deepest condolances to the Gehrke family. My family lived two houses down from Al and Ida. His smile was infectious and he helped me with my garden...played ball with my son...bring my dog home when he got loose..his homemade hand cranked ice cream was the best...

Michael Ray Gehrke
Lake Stevens, WA
Mar 6, 2016

My condolences to the Gehrke family, I saw the obituary and noticed that this has to be family, I have never known the Gehrke side so I checked and found that Alfred was my fathers first cousin and the son of my grandfather Walter H Gehrke's brother Hugo Gehrke. I would love to get to know this side of my family that I have never known.

Sally Mendel
Kent, WA
Mar 6, 2016

What fond memories all of these years later of a wonderful man that was such a great softball coach. I can still remember his positive words of support. A great man, a great life.

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