Eugene was born on January 23, 1927 in Flint, Michigan to Oscar and Clarissa (Keen) Warke. He was raised on the family farm near Hartland, MN and attended Freeborn School. When Eugene was a senior in high school, he was drafted into the United States Army; serving from April 12, 1945 – December 3, 1946 and stationed in the South Pacific during WW II. When he returned from his service with the Army he began working; farming for a year, then assisting his uncle, Clarence Warke with hauling gravel, and later driving gas truck which led him to new opportunities in New Richland. In 1957 he built the service station in New Richland where he had custom crop spraying, rural bulk deliveries, AAA service, and sold fertilizer to local farmers; Eugene continued to sell fertilizer throughout his lifetime. Eugene was one of the founders of the New Richland Sportsmen’s Club and oldest member, he was baptized and confirmed at Hartland Lutheran Church, and a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran Church in New Richland.
On April 4, 1953 he was married to Elaine Bartness at the Hartland Lutheran Church; they made New Richland their home where they raised their four children. Summers were full of memories and vacations, most of them spent alongside the Miller family, taking annual vacations to Roberds Lake in Faribault, MN, day trips to Como Zoo, and picnics on the 4th of July. As a family they also took numerous trips and visited many places across the United States. In the winter, Eugene would flood the backyard with water and creating an ice rink for everyone to enjoy. During the holidays, Eugene had the duty of bringing lefse to family dinner. Eugene was proud of all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren; taking any moment he could to brag about them. At times he was also a chauffeur and enjoyed taking his great grandkids to and from school and spending time with them any chance he had.
As a proud veteran, Eugene served with the New Richland Legion Post #75 for many years, serving as Commander and Vice Commander and attended several state and national conventions representing the Legion. In the summer he enjoyed attending, driving, and playing patriotic music in local parades with his fellow post members. Eugene attended the Corey Goodnature Memorial Scholarship Fund event for 17 continuous years, where he was honored as a WW II veteran; he was extremely proud of his service to his country and his fellow Legionnaires. He may have even held the record for visiting more American Legions across the state and beyond. There was nothing more he enjoyed than a drive to anywhere and very rarely was he in a place where he didn’t know someone.
Eugene was a strong willed and well-spoken man with a soft heart for his family and friends. He was often known for being able to turn a ten-minute story into an hour-long tale, a one-hour job into a half day event, and a short drive into a daylong adventure. His loving heart, kind smile, and storytelling will be missed by all those who loved him.
Left to cherish his memory are his children, Debbie (Tom) Baas, Randy Warke, Dennis (Amy) Warke, and Denise (Terry) Dunnette; grandchildren, Chris (Jernelle) Baas, Travis (Emily) Baas, Brian (Christy) Baas, Christina Warke, Josh (Kelly) Warke, Jordan (Shayna) Warke, Brandon (Megan) Smith, and Braeden (Victoria Lewis) Thompson; great grandchildren, Kayden, Kylie, Kelsey, Oakley, Brekston, Grant, Alex, Avery, Everett, Lilly, Creek, Josh, James, and Julianna; sister, Glorianne (Larry) Bice; sisters-in-law, Doris (Howard) Sigurdson, Jeannie Holland, and Dode (Harp) Bartness; brother-in-law, Merle Bartness; and special friend, Darlene Abraham.
Eugene was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Elaine in 2001, grandson, Dylan Burback in 2000, and many sisters and brothers-in-law.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Richland, MN; Pastor Mary Iverson will officiate. Eugene’s family will greet guests at a visitation from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Monday, August 28, 2023 at Friedrich’s Funeral Home in New Richland, MN and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at the Hartland Cemetery in Hartland, MN with Military Honors.