Erwin Walter Matzke, 97 was welcomed into the glorious kingdom of heaven on Saturday morning, January 18, 2014, at Woodside Manor in Green Bay. He was born May 11, 1916 at his parents’ home in Kolberg, WI. He was the oldest of five boys and one daughter born to Paul and Emma (Kay) Matzke. He attended elementary school in Kolberg, WI where the initial years of instruction were all in German. He graduated from Brussels High School in 1934 and earned his teaching credentials from Door Kewaunee Normal School in1936. He taught elementary school for five years at several one room facilities in Door County concluding the final year at Wilson elementary. Erwin was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and trained with the 124th Cavalry Regiment at Brownsville, TX. He was sent overseas in 1942 to Calcutta, India where he and his regiment mates gave up their horses and became an infantry regiment. From the fall of 1942 until the last day of 1945, Erwin was deployed in the China, Burma, India Theater where he was in charge of a patrol that set up landing zones for supplies that were air dropped from C-47s that flew “The Hump” (Himalaya Mountains). As part of the front line unit that opened the Burma Road, he was involved in four major battles, was awarded the Silver Star, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He was honorably discharged and returned via the Atlantic Ocean landing in New York City on December 31, 1945.
Erwin married the love of his life, Alice Logerquist on June 15, 1946. Alice and Erwin deeply loved each other and had many beloved friends and relatives with whom they enjoyed square dancing, Door County fish boils, and Packer games throughout their 52 years of marriage until Alice passed away in May 1999. Their marriage was blessed with two children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Erwin earned his bachelors degree in elementary education for the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point in 1952 and masters degree in education administration from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1962. He taught school for thirty years in Sturgeon Bay where he served as the principal of the Sunrise elementary school and in the later years as the administrator for all three of the district’s elementary schools. He was an active adult leader with the Bay Lakes area Boy Scouts of America and received numerous awards for his contributions, including the Silver Beaver award for his years of commitment to helping boys become responsible adults. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and served as the commander of Sturgeon Bay Post 3088, the Northeastern Wisconsin district, and state. During retirement, Erwin enjoyed woodworking, photography, and spending time with his grandchildren. He was a member of St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay for over 60 years where he taught Christian educational classes in the confirmation program and to well into his 90s he provided Christian visitation and communion to those in nursing homes, care centers, and to others who were unable to attend formal church services.
Erwin is survived by his two sons, Gary and wife Cindy (Boxwell) of Midlothian, Virginia, and their five children: Megan Aylesworth and her husband Ben of New York City, Jonathon, Jason, Alicia, and Christina of Midlothian, and Dean and his wife Debbie (Pearson) of Green Bay, and their seven children: Heidi McCabe and her husband Joe of Winneconne, WI, Ben and his wife Kaleena of Peshtigo, Jeff of Marshall, MN, Jenna and her fiancé Corey Starry of Green Bay, Eric of Minneapolis, MN, and Molly and Nick of Green Bay. Erwin is also survived by three sisters-in-law, Alvina of Manitowoc, Laura of Kolberg, and Mary of Green Bay. In addition to his wife, Alice who passed away in 1999, Erwin was preceded in death by his brothers; Elmer, Harry, Marvin, and Ruben.
Relatives and friends may call at St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay on Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Kolterjahn officiating. Military honors will be provided by VFW Post #3088. A luncheon at the church will immediately follow the service.
Visit www.huehnsfuneralhome.com to sign the guest book or to share a memory with the family. Huehns Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The family would like to thank the staff of Woodside Manor and Unity Hospice for all their loving care and kindness given to our father. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be sent to the Erwin Matzke Memorial Fund C/O Huehns Funeral Home, 1414 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235; the funds will subsequently be gifted to aid in the Woodside Manor expansion project.