Clair Raymond Lemke, 92, Zimmerman


Clair Raymond Lemke of Zimmerman, 92, passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 11, 2013, at the Heritage Nursing Center in Foley.

Clair was born on August 7, 1921, in Otsego Township, to August and Minnie (Hink) Lemke. He married Doris Kight on May 25, 1940, in Milaca.

He was an avid fisherman and hunter enjoying many outdoor activities including camping with his wife and their friends. He was a craftsman with wood working making tables, chairs and all sorts of beautiful things. He signed up for Roosevelt’s CCC in 1936, and went off to Washington State to work his term.  He farmed in the Elk River/Zimmerman area and worked construction and hauling milk in his early years; he worked for Cargill at the Elk River Research Farm before becoming a road grader operator. He graded many gravel roads throughout Sherburne Country as was a familiar face to those along those roads until retiring at 62.

He was a founding member of the Zimmerman Fire department signing with the other founders to buy the initial firefighting equipment. He and Doris also opened the Zimmerman laundermat in 1967 where he spent many hours repairing or installing the coin operated washers and dryers. He loved playing cards, visiting friends, eating out on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, and working in his woodshop for endless hours. His best fishing trip was to Alaska at age 79 where he caught a 42 pound King salmon and the group of four brought home 440 pounds of fish; he always referred to the trip as “the trip of a life time.”  

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Harold, beloved wife Doris, daughter Carolyn, and great-grandsons Benjamin and Michael.

Clair is survived by his daughter Elaine (Bob) Stuefen of Elk River, daughter Judy (Bennett) Wallace of Zimmerman, nephew Donald (Dorothy) Lemke of Onamia, 13 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren.

The family would like thank Dr. Roger Boettcher for his years of wonderful care and the staff of the 100 wing memory care unit at Foley Heritage for their loving care.   

Visitation Thursday,  August 15, 2013, 5-8 pm at Dare’s Funeral Home and one hour prior to service;  funeral service is 11 am Friday, August 16, 2013 at River of Life in Elk River. 

Dare’s Funeral Home 763-441-1212