By Havre Daily News Staff
Fred "Bill" Willard Gratke, 78, of Havre, a retired railroad machinist, died Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002, at his residence of natural causes.
Memorial service is at 2 p.m. Wednesday at St. Jude Catholic Church with the Rev. Robert D. Grosch officiating. Committal rite with full military honors will
be at the
Highland Cemetery. Fellowship is to follow committal rite at the St. Jude Parish Center.
Bill was born July 28, 1924, to Fred and Edith (Grabuski) Gratke at Sauk Rapids, Minn. He attended school in Minnesota and graduated from Sauk Rapids High School in 1942. After graduating from high school, Bill started working for the Great Northern Railway at Watertown, S.D., in the roundhouse until July 1943, when he was drafted during World War II at the reception center at Fort Snelling, Minn. He served with the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Western Pacific Saipan in 1944 and Guam in 1945. He was discharged on Jan. 3, 1946, at Camp McCoy, Wis., as a sergeant.
He later returned to his job in Watertown, S.D., with the Great Northern Railway. In 1948 he came to Havre to complete his apprenticeship as a machinist at the diesel shop in Havre.
On May 7, 1950, Bill married Mary DeRosa at Havre. They had two sons. He was a machinist for the Great Northern (later the Burlington Northern) Railway for 42 years in Havre.
Bill enjoyed doing puzzles, reading, and visiting people. When he was younger he especially enjoyed fishing and hunting. He was a member of the VFW for more than 50 years, and a longtime member of the International Association of Machinists, the BNSF Vets Association, and the 73rd Bomb Wing Association. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Edith Gratke, and brother, Harvey.
Survivors include his wife, Mary DeRosa Gratke of Havre; sons, Fred (Kathleen) Gratke of Fort Worth, Texas, and Mike (Jacqueline) Gratke of Sunnyvale, Calif.; brother, Marvin Gratke of St. Paul, Minn.; and two grandchildren.
Memorials in Bill's honor may be made to the Gift of Life Housing Center, P.O. Box 7008, Great Falls, MT 59406-7008; the American Cancer Society, c/o Charlotte Kelley, P.O. Box 1107, Havre, MT 59501, or to a person's choice.
Services and arrangements are under the direction of the Holland and Bonine Funeral Home.