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Baetke, William Rev. 1864-1940


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - Volunteer (email)
Date: 3/19/2017 at 16:00:16

Boyden Reporter of Feb 22, 1940

Rev. William Baetke - By Rev. H. Flentje
The Lord of Life and Death, in His wise providence, called Rev William Frederick Carl Baetke into the blessed eternity Friday evening of last week, Feb 16, at 6 o'clock, after a short, but serious illness. He passed away at his home on 6th Avenue at the age of 75 years- three months and 28 days. He was born October 19, 1864. At Gross-Schmoolon. in the former Dukedom Meklemburg - Schwerin. Germany. The next day, Oct. 20, he was baptized in the name of the triune God. Until the age of 14. He attended the Lutheran parochial school of his home town After being duly instructed in the doctrines of the Lutheran church, he was confirmed in the Lutheran faith, in Doemitz. As farming, which was the occupation of his parents, did not interest him, he planned to enter a military school to enter the army. But God directed his thoughts in another direction. Through a friend, who studied for the ministry in the Lutheran Seminary at Mendota, IL, he heard of the great need of Lutheran pastors in America. He resolved to become a pastor and serve the Lord, in His vineyard. To be prepared to enter the Theological Seminary in Mendota, he took private instruction from Pastor Zankow and Rector Becker and then studied for six months In the preparatory seminary at Luobthoon. After finishing the course in this institution, he made application for entrance in the Lutheran Seminary at Mendota. His application was granted.

He left the old country in September 1882 and arrived in Mendota in October, 1882. He was admitted as a theological student of the Seminary and studied for three years under the sainted professors. Dr. Gottfried and Siegmund Fritsche, The teachings and sincere Christian life of these men left a deep impression upon him and became a decisive factor in his whole future life. His study was finished In June, 1885, and on July 6, he was ordained In the ministry by Rev Fr. Richter at the Lutheran church in Mendota, IL. After his ordination he substituted for Rev. Hast at Boyden. Iowa, for three months. After Rev. Hast returned from the old country, Rev. Baetke took up the ministerial duty in White Lake, S. D. After nine months as pastor at that place, he received a call from the St. John's Lutheran congregation at Boyden, Iowa, which he accepted. Boyden, as he said, became now his second home. By God's grace he was permitted to labor in this congregation for 40 years.

On May 12, 1887, he entered into the holy estate of matrimony with Miss Tjoda Franzen of Flaningen, IL To this union were born seven children, of whom two preceded him in death in Infancy. His happy married life came to an end by the sudden death of his beloved wife, Feb. 8, 1901. For five years he tried to be father and mother of his small children. He often said that this was the hardest time in his life. Finally he realized that his children needed a mother. He became acquainted with Mrs. Augusta Topping of Durand, Wis., who was willing to become a helpmate to our departed brother and a mother to the children.

They were united in marriage October 4, 1906. For 34 years she has been a loving wife and faithful co-worker with the departed, and a loving, tender-hearted mother to his children. A niece of Mrs. W. Baetke, Augusta Topping, whom she had adopted, was added to his family. Rev. Baetke was an untiring and faithful worker in his congregation His ambition to establish a parochial school in the congregation was crowned with success; a modern school building was erected and two teachers were called. In 1926, after serving St. Johnís congregation for 40 years, he retired from the active ministry and moved with his wife into their newly-built home in Sheldon, where he resided until his death. While they were living here two deaths occurred in his family. His daughter Elizabeth, wife of Rev. Fleischmann, Pittsburgh, Kansas, passed away Feb 21, 1927, also a son John died June 10. 1938. While living here the gracious God permitted him to celebrate his 50th anniversary in the ministry. In his ministry he served in various offices. For years he was chairman of the N.W. Iowa conference, treasurer of the former South Dakota district, vice-president and for several years president of the same district.

He was in fairly good health until about three months ago. About a week ago, his condition became alarming. Though the best of care was administered to him, he passed away peacefully on Friday evening, leaving to mourn his departure: his wife; one son. Rev Aug. Baetke, Milwaukee, Wis.; his daughters, Miss Emma Baetke, Jacksonville, IL; Mrs. Marie Schult, Boyden, Iowa; Miss Augusta Topping, Flint, Mich.; eight grandchildren and one greatgrandchild; two brothers, Rev. Carl Baetke, Seattle, Wash., and Rev. Aug. Hein, Boyden, Iowa. Funeral services were held at the home and in St. Paul's Lutheran church Monday afternoon at 1:30. The service at the church was in the English language Rev. A E. Guetzlaff was in charge of the altar service and Rev L. Belk of LeMars preached the sermon The obituary was read by Rev. H Flentje, who also, as president of the Western Iowa conference, extended the sympathy or the conference to the mourners. The choir sang two beautiful selections Twenty-three pastors attended the funeral service. Pallbearers were six pastors. Another service was held in St. John's Lutheran church, north of Boyden, where the departed was pastor for 40 years Rev. A. Guetzlaff preached the sermon in German and Rev Theo. Meyer of LeMars read the obituary. Interment was made in St John's Lutheran cemetery.

People from a distance in attendance were Rev. August Baetke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Miss Augusta Topping, Flint, Mich : Rev. and Mrs. A C Fleischmann, Athol, Kans.. Rev. and Mrs. Woelber, Burlington, Colo , Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Fleischmann, Gothenberg, Nebr, Lambert Locker. Estherville, Chris and Henry Locker, George, Rev and Mrs. C Shaft, Creighton, Neb., Rev and Mrs. W Gaud, Tripp, S. D , Mr. and Mrs. Carl Woelber, and Marie Winter Pipestone, Minn.
(a picture accompanies the article)

Note: In the 1925 Iowa State census his father was listed a John Baetke and mother Elise Hein.


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