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Rodney Allyn Bathke
December 3, 1940 ~ January 4, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old
Rodney A. Bathke, the third child of August E. and Frieda C. (Hoepner) Bathke, was born on December 3, 1940 at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He was received into the Kingdom of Grace through Holy Baptism in January of 1941. Rodney attended grade school at Longfellow School and was a 1958 graduate of Memorial High School. He furthered his education at Concordia College in St. Paul, MN and Fort Wayne, IN. Rodney graduated in 1966 from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO and served Lutheran parishes in Missouri and Wisconsin. In 1976 he attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to earn a degree in social work. Rodney spent most of his social work days at the Northwoods Living Care Center in Phelps, WI. He retired in 2006 from the Vilas County Department of Social Service while living in Watersmeet, Michigan.
For 27 years Rodney was the organist at Hope Lutheran Church in Land O' Lakes, WI along with serving as congregational chairman and elder. He lived on the edge of the Sylvania Wilderness in Michigan and spent many hours skiing and hiking through this natural gem. For 21 years he was a member of the Headwaters' Search and Rescue Dog Unit and spent many hours training his German shepherds to find missing people in the North Woods.
On March 20, 2010, Rodney was joined in marriage to Janice M. Koehneke at Trinity Lutheran Church in Menasha, WI. They lived in Neenah, WI until 2020, at which time they moved to Eau Claire. Rodney is survived by his wife, Jan, his son Christopher Johnston of Annandale, VA, sisters Pat Tanner of Cottage Grove, MN and Judith (Herbert) Mehne of Menomonie, WI, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews, and devoted friends.
Rodney has been described as a life-long learner, a loving husband, father, and brother, a faithful friend, and a devoted child of God. He will be sorely missed by those whose lives he touched with his compassion, patience, and love.
Rodney's family wishes to thank the loving and attentive staff of the Critical Care Unit of Mayo Clinic - Eau Claire, Wisconsin for the compassionate care provided to Rod and his family during the last hours of his earthly pilgrimage. The family is especially grateful to the doctors who devoted themselves to caring for Rodney, and to the exceptional nurses in the CCU who treated him with respect and professionalism. We also greatly appreciate Pastor Carlson and the chaplains who provided comforting spiritual care.
The visitation for family and friends is on Thursday, January 11 from 9:30am to 11:00am at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 601 Fall Street, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. A funeral will be held at 11:00am, with a lunch reception to follow. The Rite of Christian Burial will take place later that same day at 2:30 pm at Lakeview Cemetery in Eau Claire.
Memorials may be given to: Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (Renovation Fund), Hope Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 447, Land O' Lakes, WI 54540 (Faith, Hope, and Love Campaign), Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 Broad Street, Menasha, WI 54952, or, to a charity of your own choosing. Arrangements were entrusted to Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral and Cremation Services. Online condolences for Rodney's family may be left at www.lenmmarkfh.com.