Wilbur C. Gaedtka 1928 – 2021
Springfield, IL—Wilbur C. Gaedtka, age 92, passed away peacefully on September 16, 2021. Surviving are his two daughters, Margaret and Suzanne, of Springfield and a cousin, Harold Strampp, of Lincoln.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife Marjorie in 1971 after 12 years of marriage. She blessed him with their two daughters. His second wife Gerry passed away in 2012 after 40 years of marriage.
Wilbur was born in Lincoln, Ill., on December 28, 1928 to Carl and Marie Gaedtka and was raised on a farm near New Holland. As an only child, he spent many hours tending to the farm with his father and grandfather. He fondly remembered raising prize winning steers for 4-H, showing them at the Logan County Fair, and traveling with his dad to sell steers at the stockyard in Chicago.
He graduated from New Holland High School in 1947. Shortly thereafter, his father passed away, and a few years later Wilbur stopped farming to serve two years in the U.S. Army in post-World War II Germany. He was trained in radio communications, which led to his 33 year career as a communications technician for AT&T before he retired in 1988.
Wilbur had a wide range of interests and enjoyed collecting and learning about things from the past. In particular, he was drawn to cars, tools, blacksmithing, bottles, stamps, and WWII. He enjoyed reading magazines and books on these topics and spending time with fellow enthusiasts. He was a member of many clubs in Central Illinois including the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club, of which he was a charter member, Prairie Capital Corvair Association, Mid-West Tool Collectors, Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association, Pekin Pontils, and Springfield Philatelic Society. Rising early in the morning was never a problem if he was headed to an auction, flea market, or hammer-in. A nap would replenish the lost hours of sleep later in the day. He was a champion napper!
Wilbur was baptized as a child and later confirmed in the Lutheran faith. As an adult, he served in various offices of the church council for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Athens.
In the 1970’s, he worked with others in the community to start the Athens Library. He had a lifelong love of chocolate, homemade sweets and Coca-Cola, make that Classic Coke. He enjoyed them daily. His favorite games were Rummy and Scrabble. Whether it was his mother, grandmother, wives, daughters, or even his caregivers, Wilbur was always loved dearly and spoiled by the women in his life. He had an infectious smile, a kind spirit, and a loving heart. Most of all, he valued his family as the ultimate treasure of his life. He will be deeply missed and always remembered with love.
Visitation for Wilbur will be held on Monday, September 20, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. Both will be at Mott & Henning Funeral Home in Athens with Rev. Ken Gennicks officiating. COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including face coverings. Burial will be at Joel Hall Cemetery in Athens.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Sherman Rescue Squad, Friends of Athens Municipal Library, or donor’s choice.
Mott & Henning Funeral Home is assisting the family. On-line condolences can be shared at www.mottandhenning.com.