William “Bill” Max Linke, 82, of New London, formerly of Sioux City, passed peacefully into the arms of his Savior on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, while residing at Glen Oaks Care in New London. Complications of Parkinson’s disease ended his earthly journey.
Memorial services will be held in May 2019. His ashes will be scattered at that time in northern Minnesota.
Arrangements are under the direction of Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar, Minn. Condolences may be sent online to www.petersonbrothers.com.
Bill was born at Hartley Memorial Hospital in Battle Creek, Iowa, on April 22, 1936, to Max Fred William and Bertha Sabina (Miller) Linke. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grant township in Ida County, Iowa.
Bill was confirmed in his faith at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ida Grove, Iowa.
Bill attended K-12 school in Ida Grove.
As a senior he was named to the football All-Conference football team. He received an athletic and academic scholarship to Drake University, where he attended and served as captain of Drake’s basketball team.
He took great pride in the fact that he defensively held the great Oscar Robertson to the lowest scoring Oscar had during his entire college basketball career.
Bill and his high school sweetheart, Jerri Jean Cole, eloped and were married in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on July 3, 1956. Two children were born to this marriage, Lon L and Laura Leigh Linke.
After his 1958 graduation from Drake University, he enlisted in the USMC Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia, where he went through basic training and was commissioned a second lieutenant.
He later attended flight training at Pensacola flying out of Saufley and Whiting fields in Florida. There he qualified in single and multi-engine, fixed wing and helicopter aircraft and carrier training. Bill also obtained his commercial pilot’s license while in the USMC.
In 1960, he was awarded his Naval aviation wings and commission as first lieutenant. While serving he was based in Hawaii and on the aircraft carriers Iwo Jima and the Princeton. He flew helicopters serving on such missions as the ten Johnston Islands Nuclear Tests in the Pacific and was on the Iwo Jima as it headed for possible action at the time of the Cuban Missile crisis.
After his active duty, he remained in the active reserves flying helicopters. He retired in April 1985 with distinguished service from the USMC with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After his initial active military duty, Bill taught English and coached basketball (and other sports) at Willow (Quimby/Washta), Ida Grove, and then at Sioux City East High School, all in Iowa.
Although few people knew, part of Bill’s training as a child was in music. He regularly played the family’s Hammond organ to relax and prepare mentally in preparation for basketball competitions.
Coach Linke had exceptional successes with his teams, not only as a coach, but as a mentor. He loved coaching but loved even more watching the young men with whom he was associated become successful people of quality and character.
Many of his boys honored him in his life by maintaining a caring relationship with him until his death. In turn, he remembered each one of them, and their uniqueness, individually and collectively, with the greatest love and respect.
He studied and received his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of South Dakota during his time as an educator.
An avid fisherman from his youthful learning at the elbow of his beloved father-in-law, Jerry Cole, he was at peace in the world of fish, bait, boats and water. His children were the recipients of that love as his family spent many happy hours fishing with him through the years.
Later, he worked in the insurance business, and he and Jerri Jean owned and operated Park Lane Resort on Green Lake in Spicer, Minnesota, from 1970 to 1982. At that same time, they also owned Kandi Realty in Willmar, Minnesota.
Later, after selling that, he owned, managed and operated several other Century 21 real estate establishments in Minnesota and Wisconsin and served also for a time as a district manager.
After his marriage of 26 years ended in 1982, he married again in 1990 to Coleen Deardorff in Las Vegas, Nev. That marriage ended in 2000. He returned to Spicer in his retirement and lived independently until he suffered a stroke and the debilitation of Parkinson’s required his admittance to Glen Oaks in New London.
He leaves to mourn his long-term caregiver and friend, Jerri Jean (Cole) Linke; his son, Lon Linke and wife, Debra of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; his daughter, Laura (Linke) Winkler and husband, Russell “Rusty” of Parrish, Fla.; four grandchildren, Max L. Patrick Linke and wife, Natasha, Alexis Elizabeth Linke, Piper Jerran (Winkler) Jungers and husband, Joshua, and Boone MacGregor Winkler; and three great-grandchildren, Carson Tebow (Smith) Winkler, Elliott Linke and Kolton James Jungers. Many dear nephews, nieces and their families and a beloved sister-in-law, June (Cole) Bremer, remain to mourn also, as well as a multitude of other dear friends and relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Betty Linke and Shirley (Linke) Hultgren; her husband, Russell Hultgren; and his brother-in-law, Harold Bremer.
Gratitude is expressed to the caring staff and volunteers at Glen Oaks who not only gave loving comfort and care but included him in their happy family during his years there. May God bless the memory of Bill.