Susan JoAnn Wilke, 62, of Dubuque, Iowa, formerly of Monona, Iowa, died Tuesday, October 30, 2018 surrounded by family. Susan was born August 26, 1956 to Thomas and Mary Jo (Iverson) Wilke in Decorah, Iowa. She graduated from MFL High School with the class of 1974 and attended Luther College earning her B.A. in 1978. Throughout the years, Susan was an art teacher, owned and operated five Hallmark Stores, and currently owned and operated Ink & Stamp with Sue in Galena, Illinois.
From an early age, Susan took great pride in her role as a big sister. The four siblings shared a love of their grandma’s caramel suckers and cranberry cake, and could be brought to tears laughing over Susan’s infamous Chippewa Flowage spill on water skis.
Susan’s position as the only girl in a house of boys gave her a special connectedness to her parents. She loved spending time with her mom and dad. Over the last several years, Susan could be found making frequent trips to Monona to play a card game, or sneak in a few holes on the golf course.
By far the most important thing in Susan’s life was her family. Her love ran deep. There was rarely a moment she wasn’t thinking of her loved ones. She could often be found in the athletic stands or auditorium seats with a triumphant cheer and her latest knitting project close in hand. The never missing birthday card, the endless hugs and kisses, and ‘one more photo’ at every family gathering are among the many memories that will be deeply cherished by the many who adored her.
Susan’s family extended far beyond bloodlines, and some of her most joyful moments included crafting retreats, shopping trips, and afternoons lost in creation with her artistic circles. She was involved in many professional and civic organizations and small groups related to her business and personal interests. Susan loved gardening, knitting, painting, quilting, and sketching among others, and was blessed by friends who encouraged her many creative talents and passions. She took great pride in co-authoring a book on jewelry design with good friend, Susan Ray. Her joyful smile and infectious laughter were treasured by so many, and her light will continue to shine brightly in the many lives she touched.
Susan is survived by her parents, Tom and Mary Jo Wilke of Monona, Iowa; three brothers, David (Becky) Wilke of Elkader, Iowa, Steven (Ellen) Wilke of Madison, Wisconsin, and Daniel (Amy Dale) Wilke of Evanston, Illinois; her nieces and nephews, Sarah Wilke, Jessica Wilke, Jacob (Jessica) Wilke, Kristen Wilke, Michael Wilke, Sophia Wilke, Emily Cooper, and Alex Dale; and two great-nieces, Charlotte and Gretchen Wilke, her very dear aunts, uncles, cousins, loyal employees and many friends.
Susan’s relationship with Jesus Christ shaped her completely, and she held on to her deep faith until the end. Susan would want you to honor her memory by sharing a long hug, warm gesture, kind word, volunteering in your community, sending a card, planting a flower, singing loudly in church, laughing until your belly hurts, or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend ; all ways in which she showed the love of Jesus. Memorial contributions can be made to Luther College or a christian charity of your choice.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Monday, November 12, 2018 at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Monona, Iowa. There will also be a one hour visitation before services at the church on Tuesday.
Funeral Services will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at Norway Lutheran Church in St. Olaf, Iowa with Rev. Marshall Hahn as the officiant.
Burial will follow at St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Monona, Iowa.
Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Monona, Iowa is helping the family with arrangements