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Douglas Werner Radke

January 10, 1938 ~ March 20, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Douglas Radke Obituary

Douglas Werner Radke, age 86, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, passed away on March 20, 2024. He was born on January 10, 1938, in the front bedroom of his grandparents' farm home in Wilton, Wisconsin. His first year was spent in Prey, WI, where his father, Werner and mother, Eileen (Noffke) Radke lived in a cabin in the woods at the foot of the Wisconsin Department of Conservation fire tower. Werner's position was as the fire tower watch warden. Werner later became a law enforcement 'game' warden with the state department. Douglas, in 1965, became a 'second generation' warden within the renamed Department of Natural Resources. Douglas served in various capacities during his 35 year career; he was posted to nine stations throughout the state. His final station was in Eau Claire as the District Warden for the Northwest District from which he retired in 1993.

Douglas served in the National Guard Unit at Black River Falls, WI. In 1961, this unit, with many others, was activated into the U.S. Fifth Army and deployed to Fort Lewis, WA due to the "Berlin Crisis". They conducted tank training exercises there and in the desert areas of California. The unit was deactivated and returned to state control in August of 1962.

Douglas married Barbara Larvick Smith in 1976. Both were graduates of Black River Falls High School and had known each other throughout their lives in their hometown. With Barbara's two teen age children, Kristin and Eirik, the four of them formed a new family and lived in La Crosse. This new foursome took several long-distance camping trips westward and eastward staying at state parks; all were enriching experiences. Commitment to family, his wife and children, came first to Douglas. He relished the experiences of hunting with his brothers, keeping up with the activities and careers of his niece and nephews and the family gatherings of the Radke and Larvick relatives and relatives of relatives, which were a source of fun and sharing of good food, life stories and much laughter. He maintained a close relationship with friends, those of his high school and hometown and his fellow wardens, wherein telephone conversations could last an hour. He made new friends with neighbors and always had time to chat.

Upon his retirement from the Department of Natural Resources, the couple traversed the highways and byways of this beautiful country. Douglas had a strong conservationist bent, with a personal commitment to the earth, water and wildlife of all of the states within our country. Doug and Barb were able to camp at many provincial, state and national parks; while enjoying the uniqueness of each new place meeting fellow campers revealed anew how much Doug loved being neighborly. Three trips to Europe, when he realized he could have a good time without pulling a camping trailer, reaffirmed Doug's appreciation of all the wonders of our earth. It was the beauty of these natural spaces that brought fulfillment and happiness to his life.

Douglas was preceded in death by his parents, Werner and Eileen Radke; brother, John and John's wife, Shirley. Douglas is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, Eirik Smith and Kristin Smith-Procter; brother, Joel and Joel's wife, Sharon; and a niece, nephews, cousins and extended family.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at Grace Lutheran Church, 202 West Grand Ave., Eau Claire, with Rev. Dr. Philip Ruge-Jones officiating. Visitation will be on Monday, April 8, 2024 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. at Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral & Cremation Services, 814 First Ave, Eau Claire and again one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Black River Falls at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Grace Lutheran Church, Eau Claire; the Wisconsin Conservation and Education Foundation, the National Parks Foundation or a charity of your choice.

The family wishes to thank the staff in the CCU at Mayo Health System - Eau Claire for the professional care and human compassion given to Douglas.

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April 8, 2024

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Lenmark Gomsrud Linn Funeral & Cremation Services
814 First Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54703

April 9, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Grace Lutheran Church
202 West Grand Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54703

Memorial Service
April 9, 2024

11:00 AM
Grace Lutheran Church
202 West Grand Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54703


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