December 23, 1931 – March 5, 2020
Gerhard E. Stahnke, 88, passed away March 5, 2020. Gerhard was born in Berlin, Germany on December 23, 1931 to the late Paul and Helene (Hein) Stahnke.
Gerhard lived in Germany with his mother and brother until he was 23. In 1955 he traveled by boat to the United States, arriving on Ellis Island, New York. He was sponsored by his uncle, Ewald Hein and lived with his family in the Chicago area for approximately 6 months. Later his twin brother, Reinhard arrived and they shared an apartment. In just three years he was speaking fluent English and became a US citizen.
He lived in the Chicago area for 18 years before moving to Stevensville, MI. Gerhard was by trade a tool & die maker and master craftsman. He was employed by Leco in St. Joseph, MI for 25 years. Gerhard learned his trade in Berlin and received a German tool and die certificate at age 17. Gerhard loved to travel and once took a 6,000 mile trip all in his car. He first went to Saskatchewan, Canada, then to British, Columbia where he visited relatives. He then traveled all the way down to San Francisco, on to San Diego, then back to his home in Chicago. Gardening and woodworking were his main hobbies along with reading Readers Digest.
In 1972 Gerhard built his home in Stevensville adding an English basement for his mother and mother-in-law moved in and lived with him and his wife Ursula until they each passed away.
Gerhard is survived by his wife, Gladys R. Stahnke; nephews, Robert (Mimi), Richard Stahnke; and two grand-nephews; and two grand-nieces.
Preceding Gerhard in death were his parents and wife, Ursula C. stahnke.
Per Gerhard’s wishes, there will be no visitation. Burial will take place at Hickory Bluff Cemetery, in Stevensville, MI.