Wilmer Gene "Bill'" Steinke died Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, at Community Hospital in McCook, at the age of 83.
He was born July 20, 1924, the son of the late Fredrick William Emil and Pauline Dorotha (Hedke) Steinke. Bill grew up on the farm where he was born and graduated from rural school.
He worked for John Deere before moving to a farm north of Trenton where they lived and dry land farmed for 16 years, They moved to an irrigated farm southwest of Trenton where they resided for the next 44 years.
He was a multi-talented man who farmed wheat, corn, milo and raised hundreds of pigs. He was a master mechanic and woodworker, who made clocks, baby cradles, picnic tables and jewelry boxes. He enjoyed repairing farm machinery and as a gunsmith he made a miniature cannon and helped build a civil war cannon.
He repaired all kinds of guns and started the first black powder shoots at his farm at Trenton with help from people who were interested. They shot targets and dynamite for 30 years.
He was a life member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and the N.R.A..
He made several muzzle loading rifles with parts he handmade and the barrels were made and rifled on a machine he made. He used a hacksaw, file and drill along with a small lathe. He called his file a pocket milling machine. When retired he loved his garden and made hundreds of push hoes.
He was a member of the Trenton American Legion Post 337 where he served on the flag squad for many military funeral honor guards and kept the rifles in good repair as well as reloading ammunition. He served two terms on the Trenton School Board and served on the Service Unit Board.
He was preceded in death by an infant son, Lloyd Warren Steinke; his parents; five brothers, Delbert, Lee, Walter, Harry and Glenn Steinke; brother-in-law, Jack Lawson; sisters-in-law, Ruth Steinke, Chloie Steinke and Lucile Steinke; and in-laws, Webster and Marjorie Thomas.
Bill is survived by his wife, Polly of Trenton; one son, John Steinke of McCook; two sisters, Arlene Lawson of Catlament, Wash., and Twyla Thomas of Denver, Colo.; sisters-in-law, Esther Steinke of McCook, Rachel Steinke of Manning, Iowa and Mardelle Brown of Littleton, Colo.; brother-in-law, LaVerne Thomas and wife, Heather of Golden, Colo.; and special family, Doug and Bonnie Nitzkorski of Littleton, Colo., Brad and Natalie Stokes and children, Kaylie, Jacine and Mason of Highland Ranch, Colo., Gunnar and Heather Nitzkorski and daughter, Breanna of Littleton, Colo., Bill and Kathy Donze of McCook and daughters, Tracey and Teresa both of Lincoln; and numerous nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday at United Methodist Church in Trenton with the Rev. Richard Melano officiating. Interment will be in the Trenton Cemetery.
Memorials may be given in his name and friends may call at Herrmann Funeral Chapel in Trenton from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Herrmann Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.