Ernest J. Gieseke, 70, of Greenbush, Minn., passed away Friday, June 5, 2020, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, N.D.
Ernest John Gieseke was born April 28, 1950, to Herbert H. Gieseke and May Christine (Eidem) Gieseke. He was baptized and confirmed at Zoar Lutheran Church. He grew up at Marietta, Minn., and graduated Class of 1968 from Marietta High School. He worked at the Marietta Orpheum Theater, the local grain elevator and for local farmers. Ernie went on to the Willmar State Junior College graduating in 1970 with an associate’s degree and worked summers putting up grain bins. He moved to Minneapolis where he worked for Sundseth-Anderson Funeral Home while finishing his education. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. He served his practicum at Albin Chapel in Minneapolis and his apprenticeship at Sundseth-Anderson’s working there until 1975.
In 1974, he married Linda Glee Dahle in Milbank, S.D. They moved to Detroit Lakes in 1975 where he worked at Donehower Funeral Home. They had a daughter, Christine, in 1977 and a son, Andrew, in 1980. He purchased Donehower’s with a partner in 1981, but sold his interest in 1984. He and Linda purchased the Eeg Funeral Chapel and Cedar Chest Floral and Gifts in Greenbush, Minn., and moved their young family there. They owned Gieseke Funeral Chapel, Floral and Gifts and also Gieseke Trophies.
Ernie was baptized, confirmed and married in the Lutheran Church attending Bethel Lutheran in Greenbush. He belonged to Lions clubs since 1970 and was a charter member of the Greenbush-Badger Lions Club serving as their secretary and treasurer for many years. He was recognized with the Melvin Jones Award (highest Lions award) in 2008.
He held a funeral license in Minnesota since 1972 and in North Dakota since 1982. He was a member of the Minnesota and North Dakota Funeral Directors Association and secretary-treasurer for many years for District 10. He also earned the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner for his years of community and professional service.
Ernie loved his work and sharing it with his wife. He was very dedicated to his profession and the many families he served. He was very proud of his children and their accomplishments. He enjoyed his grandchildren and visited them when he could. He loved listening to polka music and watching NASCAR races. He had many bird feeders and enjoyed sitting on the back porch watching the birds. He loved long drives in the country, seeing the changes in the seasons and spotting animals and birds.
He is survived by his wife and partner of over 45 years, Linda; one son, Andrew (Jessica) Gieseke of Chaska, Minn,; two grandsons, Levi Gieseke and Cole Gieseke, also of Chaska; one sister ,Betty Gieseke of Sierra Vista, Ariz.; two brothers-in-law, Allen (Patricia) Dahle of Watertown, S.D., and Collis (Brenda) Dahle of Milbank, S.D.; four sisters-in-law, Rita (David) Wellnitz of Milbank, S.D., Nancy (Jim) Weber of Revillo, S.D., Julie (Randy) Kruse of Revillo, S.D., and Karen (Lloyd) Tillma of Twin Brooks, S.D.; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Christine, in 2012.
Funeral services were held Friday, June 12, 2020, at 2 p.m. in Bethel Lutheran Church, Greenbush. Interment will be in Bethel Lutheran Cemetery, Greenbush. The service was streamed on the Bethel Lutheran Church-Greenbush Face-book page. Rev. Janelle Hennager, presiding; Linda Sovde, organist and Jody Kirkeide, soloist. Casket bearers were Allen Dahle, Collis Dahle, Jim Weber, Randy Kruse, Lloyd Tillma, Travis Dahle, Byron Dahle, Luke Weber and Mark Austin. Honorary bearers were the Greenbush-Badger Lions Club and the Minnesota District 10 Funeral Directors. Visitation was held at the church on Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. All CDC guidelines were followed and social distancing was practiced. Wearing a mask was preferred.
Gieseke Funeral Chapel, Greenbush, was in charge of the arrangements.