NEW SALEM — Archie Bethke, 92, New Salem, passed away Sept. 20, 2014, at Elm Crest Manor, New Salem. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at Salem United Church of Christ, New Salem, with the Rev. Rose Trenbeath officiating. Burial will be at Bethel UCC Cemetery, rural New Salem.
Visitation will be held Friday from 9:30 to 11 a.m., prior to the service at the church.
Archie was born July 18, 1922, at Judson, to Oscar and Margaret (Robinson) Bethke. He was raised on the family farm, southeast of New Salem and educated in a rural school. At the age of 13, he was baptized by total immersion as was the Seventh-day Adventist custom. Helping on the farm and in the coal mine was his main occupation. In 1937, he started on the WPA projects helping build the Judson hall. He was then transferred to the Almont crew in 1939, where he drove truck for road construction work. After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy in January 1942, where he served on an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific.
After his discharge, he returned to the farm. He married Audrey Willman on Sept. 29, 1948. In 1964, the family moved to Wisconsin, where Archie worked as a welder at Kohler Company. In 1975, Archie and Audrey returned to the farm and remodeled the house. During this time, he drove a mail truck for 10 years between Billings and Fargo.
Archie’s greatest love was his family, next to that was music and the accordion. He especially enjoyed the Lawrence Welk show. The Bethke Brothers band — Art on drums, Archie on Cordovox, and Billy on guitar — played for many anniversaries, parties and birthdays. After Art’s passing, Archie and Billy limited their entertaining to Elm Crest on Valentine’s Day. He served on the Farmers Union Oil station board, the Bethel Consistory and the American Legion Post 91 firing squad.
He is survived by his wife, Audrey; one son, Larry Bethke, New Salem; two daughters, Rita (Larry) Silbernagel, Bismarck, and Sheila (John) Cook, Cedar Hill, Texas; six grandchildren, Ross (Bonnie) Van Ess, Shane Van Ess, Lynn Ann (Daniel) Werner, Andy Bethke, Eric (Lori) Johnson and Anissa Johnson; three great-grandchildren, Monica, Nicholas and Talon Van Ess; his sisters-in-law, Lillian Schneider, Margaret Thor and Ruth Olin; and numerous nieces and nephews who were very special to him.
Archie was preceded in death by his parents; and his siblings, Hazel, Arthur, Esther, Dorothy, Henry, Albert and William.
Please sign his guest book and share memories at www.dawiseperry.com. (DaWise-Perry Funeral Services, Mandan)