Founder Alfred “Al” H. Wilke Passes Away
Alfred H. Wilke passed away Sunday, May 11, 2014, lovingly surrounded by his wife and children. He was 87 years old. Al was born in White Salmon, Wa. October 23, 1926 to Alfred and Bertha (Stegman) Wilke. Upon the death of his father, when he was 3 years old, his family moved to Goldendale, Wa., and then to Yakima where he attended St. Paul’s Grade School. In 1936 the family moved back to Goldendale and Al lived with his aunt and uncle, Maida and Pat Moran, until his mother was able to buy a home in 1940.
Al attended Goldendale High School, and was active in sports and student government. He graduated from high school in 1944, and like many at the time, he joined the Navy and became a radioman, serving on troop ships in the Pacific. After the war, he attended Central Wash. College and the University of Washington. Following graduation from the U. of W., Al was hired by the United Pacific Insurance Agency in Seattle, and settled into a boarding house where he met his lifelong mate, Jacqueline Wilke. They were married October 3, 1953. In 1955 Al was transferred to the United Pacific Yakima office where he worked for several years before joining the Insurance Agency of Terrill, Lewis & Wilke. Al retired in 1990.
Fishing, hunting and camping were passions of Al’s and legacies he passed on to his son and grandchildren. After retirement he and Jackie bought a 5th wheel and joined the world of RV’s, crisscrossing the U.S. several times and eventually settling in Arizona during the winter months. They were also fortunate to travel to Europe a time or two before retirement.
Al was affiliated with and past president of the Independent Insurance Agencies of Yakima, Blue Goose International and Gyro International of Yakima. He was also a life member of the B.P.O.E.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Jackie; a daughter, Janet Dietrich and husband, Kent Dietrich of Wenatchee, Wa.; a son, Steve Wilke of Auburn, Wa.; grandchildren, Nathan (Sara) Dietrich, Luke Dietrich, Joshua Wilke and Megan Wilke. He is also survived by a sister, LaVerne Biggs of Camano Island, Wa.