Clifford Henke, age 109, passed away Monday at Manor Care, Kenosha. He was born on Aug. 1, 1907, in Oshkosh, son of the late Paul and Anna (Nee: Beck) Henke. Clifford spent most of his teenage years “riding the rails” finding various jobs to support himself, landed in Racine and was hired at the Racine Shoe Co. It was there he met Antoinette “Nettie” Schifano. They were married Dec. 3, 1932, in Waukegan, Ill and she preceded him in death, March 24, 1995.
Clifford was employed as a machinist by In-Sink-Erator for more than 20 years, retiring in 1972. At the age of 98 he gave up his driver’s license for his Honda Moped scooter, until the fall of 2013. He then rode his riding lawn mower to McDonald’s and the bank to the age of 107. He enjoyed hunting, dogs, gardening, watching ball games, the Animal Planet channel, and putzing in his basement tool shop. Clifford played the ukulele and harmonica for more than 80 years and enjoyed listening to music. He gave credit to garlic and onions for his longevity.
He talked fondly of being re-united with his wife Nettie, “No one can live forever,” he explained “Soon her and I will be able to talk again and I look forward to that.”
Henke has four children: Jerry of Surprise, Ariz.; Doris LaBrasca and Cheryl King (Don Londre)of Racine, and Ralph (Jackie) of Loudon, Tenn. He has nine grandchildren, Pam (the late Jeff) Locke, Ron (Connie) LaBrasca, Paul (Lisa) Henke, Kathy (the late Brian) Ross, Craig (Tracy) Henke, Liz (Jim) Leahey, Karen (Quentin) Grasso, Dina (Mark) Drewek, Ryan (Kirstin) King; 18 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, other dear relatives and friends. In addition to his parents and wife he was preceded in death by his daughter-in-law, Patricia Henke and his sister, Alice (Manford) Christensen.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home, 803 Main Street. Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Hwy 32. Relatives and friends may meet with the family Tuesday at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until time of service at 11 a.m.
The family extends a special thank you to his loving home caregiver, Linda Rodriguez and the staff at Manor Care for their loving and compassionate care.