May 4, 2019

Orville R. Gehrke, 81, of Burnsville passed away Saturday, May 4, at Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Mary’s Campus in Rochester. Memorial service was Monday, May 13, at Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, with interment in Winthrop Cemetery in Winthrop. Officiating was the Rev. Kent Claussen Gubrud. Pianist was Julie McDonald. Congregational hymns were “Softly and Tenderly,” “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” Special music was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “I Can Only Imagine.” Urn bearer was Samantha Johnson. Military honors by Winthrop Honor Guard.

Orville Raymond Gehrke was born June 7, 1937, in Penn Township, McLeod County. He was the son of Raymond and Myrtle (Ellies) Gehrke. He was baptized as an infant June 27, 1937, by the Rev. C.H. Kwalske at Grace Lutheran Church in Brownton. He was later confirmed in his faith as a youth April 2, 1950, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Brownton. He received his education in rural Brownton and was a graduate of the Brownton High School Class of 1956.

Orville enlisted in active military service in the 682nd Engineer Battalion of the Hutchinson National Guard June 30, 1959, at Fort Leonard, Missouri. He served his country and achieved the rank of private second class. He received an honorable discharge May 13, 1960.

After high school, Orville was employed at Busch Brothers, Supervalu in Gaylord. In 1965, Orville started working at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing in Hutchinson. He retired in December 1996 after 31 years. After retirement, Orville moved to Burnsville and began working at Nordstrom’s in the Mall of America. Also being very crafty, he was involved in many craft shows and was known as Old Crows Craft for many years.

Orville’s life was blessed with three children, Kimberly, Karla and Kenton.

Orville had a passion for the outdoors, camping, fishing and, most of all, his numerous gardens. He was an outstanding and amazing son to his parents, Raymond and Myrtle. After his cancer diagnosis, Orville’s perspective of life completely changed. He valued every day and appreciated the little things in life. Orville remained optimistic throughout his entire journey on earth. Orville was very active in the Christus Victor Lutheran Church and Bible study group. He was a member of the American Legion Apple Valley Post 1776. He also enjoyed being involved in many card groups at the senior centers. Orville’s retired life had taken him to many places of travel, such as Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii. Orville enjoyed life to the fullest, most important to him though was spending time with his family and many friends. He was very social and active, creating many friendships to last a lifetime. Those around him were blessed with his presence and infectious soul. Orville’s philosophy was to live his best life and his hope was to leave the world a better place than when he got here.

Blessed be his memory.

Orville is survived by his children, Kimberly Streich and her husband David of Hutchinson, Karla Johnson and her husband Craig of Victoria and Kenton Gehrke and his wife Tracy of Sartell; grandchildren, Joshua Streich and his wife Anna, Jessica Jahnke and her husband Ross, Samantha, Cole, Alea and Keenan Johnson and Alex, Alyssa, Aidan and Lily Gehrke; great-grandchildren, Taylah, Kenley and Bryn Jahnke and Andelyn and Vayda Streich; goddaughters, Julie Nowak and Lila Schoelkoph; and many other relatives and friends.

Orville was preceded in death by his parents Raymond and Myrtle Gehrke.

Arrangements by Dobratz-Hantge Funeral Chapel in Hutchinson. Online obituaries and guestbook available at

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