Howard William Gerke, age 73, of Pilot Grove, MO, passed away on December 1, 2023, at Moberly Regional Medical Center. He was born on October 16, 1950, in Boonville, MO, to loving parents, Anton and Alice (Kemper) Gerke, who preceded him in death.
Howard graduated from Pilot Grove High School in 1968. On August 12, 1972, he married the love of his life, Mary Schuster, at St. John's Catholic Church in Clear Creek. They shared a beautiful journey together, filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories. Howard and Mary were blessed with two children, Kevin and Stephanie, who brought great joy and pride to their lives.
Howard was a hardworking man with a big heart, always ready to lend a helping hand to his family and friends. He dedicated his life to the farm, where he lived his entire life. He worked tirelessly on the dairy farm, ensuring its success and providing for his family. Later, he joined J.E. Dunn Construction Company, where he continued his strong work ethic and commitment.
Aside from his work, Howard actively participated in various organizations, including the Farm Bureau, Booster Club, Pilot Grove FFA Alumni, and the Church Picnic Committee. He served as a past president of the Farm Bureau and contributed significantly to the betterment of his community. Howard's faith was deeply personal and meaningful to him, and he was a faithful member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
He enjoyed spending time with his family. He would often take them for rides to get ice cream and made it a priority to attend every school activity possible. Known as Mr. Fix-it, Howard had a knack for repairing things and was always ready to lend his expertise to those in need. Howard had a deep love for all animals.
Howard will be remembered for his generosity, kind heart, and unwavering dedication to his loved ones. He leaves behind a legacy of love, hard work, and selflessness. His impact on the lives of those who knew him will forever be cherished.
Howard is survived by his beloved wife, Mary of Pilot Grove; their two children, Kevin Gerke (Melissa) and Stephanie (Mark) Swearingen, both of Columbia, MO; four grandchildren, Jackson, Ethan, Allie, and Gabriel; and three siblings, Phil Gerke of Windsor, MO, Alice Stuff of Little Rock, AR, and Karen Hill of Kalispell, MT.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four brothers, Frank Gerke, Paul Gerke, Anton Gerke, Jr, and Robert “Bob” Gerke, and his sister, Mascel Atwell.
He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched.
Prayers of the Rosary will begin at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at St. John's Catholic Church in Clear Creek, followed by visitation until 7:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2023, at St. John's Catholic Church, officiated by Father Mark Smith. Howard will be laid to rest at St. John's Catholic Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Danny Gerke, Darin Gerke, Chris Gerke, Joe Gerke, Tim Schuster, and Jeff Schuster.
Memorial donations can be made to the St. John's Cemetery Association in care of Meisenheimer-Page-Dady Funeral Home.