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ENGELKES, H. W. 1860-1930


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 9/6/2012 at 00:00:00

H. W. Engelkes Died Suddenly Friday in the Drake Churchyard

Succumbs While Building Foundation for Tombstone for Deceased Wife

Totally unexpected was the death of H. W. Engelkes, the well-known, undertaker of Grundy Center, whose body was found lying in the cemetery of the Drake church last Friday, about four o'clock. The body was discovered by Mr. Wallace, of Waterloo, who had been at work tuning the organ of the church. Mr. Wallace examined the body, finding no pulse noticeable, and at once notified the Drake family.

The relatives were called and came at once. Coroner L. D. Coffman, of Grundy Center, who was also called, decided no inquest was necessary.

Dr. Mooney, of Parkersburg, a son-in-law of the deceased, fancied he detected a trace of pulsation, and used artificial respiration methods for two hours in an attempt at resuscitation, if life should be present, but the only effect was a slightly freshened color in the face of the dead man.

The body was removed to Grundy Center in an ambulance.

The body was found lying in a restful position exactly upon Mr. Engelkes own burial plot in the cemetery. He had been preparing the foundation for a monument for his deceased wife.

He took tea at the C. G. Franken home, and returned to his work after visiting there for a time. At that time he was in his normal health.

His son Cornelius of Parkersburg stated that the cause of death might have been a slowly forming blood clot on the brain, causing his death so suddenly. This is made reasonable from the fact that Mr. Engelkes had recently shown slight lapses of memory, failing to turn off water faucets, etc., also failing to recall who Heinie T. Neessen was, at the time of the occurrence of Heinie's fatal accident, though he had known Heinie since the latters birth.

The funeral was held at the First German Presbyterian church of Grundy Center, of which Mr. Engelkes was a member. The pastor, Rev. Stratemeier, was assisted by Rev. J. E. Drake, who had been asked by Mr. Engelkes to preach his funeral sermon, at the time of Mrs. Engelkes funeral about six months ago.

Rev. Drake spoke in English and Rev. Stratemeier in German.

The funeral procession included a large concourse, estimated to number a thousand people. Mr. Engelkes was known through his work as an undertaker, to everyone in this section of Iowa, and was esteemed by all who knew him for his kindly and sympathetic nature. People from all parts of Grundy county and from adjoining counties came to pay their last respects to the departed.

The floral tributes were profuse and beautiful. The pall bearers were six nephews of the deceased.


H. W. Engelkes was born February 27, 1860 at Pisquard, Ostfriesland, Germany, and came to America in 1881. On April 9, 1883, he was married to Miss Ontje Freese, who died November 19, 1929.

He lived on a farm a few years, moving later to Grundy Center, serving the community for 38 years as an undertaker. He was a mortician of recognized standing whose thoughtfulness was appreciated by many a sorrowing family.

His own home was to him a haven of rest and delight.

His end came entirely unexpectedly. While engaged in a labor of love, decorating the grave of his beloved wife, he was stricken with heart failure, which resulted in his immediate death. He died on the afternoon of Friday, April 25, 1930, attaining the age of 70 years, one month and 28 days.

He leaves to mourn his departure the two sons, Engelke Engelkes, of Aplington and Cornelius Engelkes of Parkersburg; five daughters, Mrs. Joe Haack, of Grundy Center; Mrs. Henry Dirks, Jr., of Holland; Mrs. William Kruse, of Grundy Center; Mrs. William Price, of Grundy Center; and Mrs. James Mooney, of Parkersburg; besides thirteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, a brother, Omke Engelkes, of Buck Grove, and a host of friends.

September 13, 1908, he united with the First German Presbyterian church of Grundy Center. During the time of building a new church edifice, the congregation profited greatly by his practical skill and aid.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, April 29th, a crowd of about a thousand people moving in the funeral procession.

Rev. J. E. Drake, D. D., spoke in the English language on I Samuel 20, the third verse, while the pastor of the deceased, Rev. Stratemeier, Th. D., preached the German sermon, taking for his text Luke 12, the fortieth verse.

Interment was made at the Colfax township cemetery.

--Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 30 April 1930


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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