We Remember

GARTKE, Waldemar “Wally”

November 12, 1935 — January 27, 2024

Waldemar (Wally) Gartke was born November 12, 1935, in Zielona, Poland, and passed away peacefully on January 27, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. He was the son of Rudolf and Munda Gartke and younger brother to Inge (Ludwig). Due to displacement during the war, the family had to flee to Germany and eventually came to Canada in 1952 as refugees sponsored by Canadian Lutheran World Relief. The family settled in the Lethbridge, Alberta area and initially worked on a sugar beet farm.

After completing high school in Lethbridge, Wally attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1958. With the encouragement of Pastors Rudi Busch and Larry Reyelts, he decided to pursue ordained ministry. He attended Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuqe, Iowa, earning a Bachelor of Theology.

In June 1963, he was called to St Paul Lutheran Church in Eatonia, SK (conducting services also at Peace, Laporte) and was ordained on June 11, 1963. After a lengthy pursuit, he married the love of his life Valentine Gering in August of the same year. In the next few years, they welcomed two sons, John and Tim. Wally served a number of congregations in Western Canada, including St Paul’s in Steinbach, MB, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Lethbridge, AB, and Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kelowna, BC. In 1998 he completed his final call at St Peter in Medicine Hat, AB. In his first years of retirement, he also provided interim ministry services for Redeemer Lutheran in Coaldale, AB before moving back to Kelowna in 2005.

In their last years in Kelowna, Wally and Valentine enjoyed family visits, church activities, playing cards with friends, and many travels, including river cruises in Europe. Always the loving and devoted husband, throughout their married lives Wally faithfully kept a vase filled with fresh flowers for his beloved Valentine.

In June 2023, the congregation celebrated Wally’s 60th anniversary of ordination, and a 60th wedding anniversary celebration was planned for August. Sadly, Valentine died quite suddenly in late June. Wally then moved to Edmonton to be closer to son Tim and family. After a short illness in January, he died peacefully at the Misericordia Hospital with family by his side.

Wally was so proud of his children John (Elizabeth) and Tim (Carolyn); grandchildren, Emma, Julie, Trenton (Cambria), Nathaniel (Richelle), Trina (Liam), and Amy; and his great-grandchildren, Seth, Corinne, Nico, Katherine and Lieselotte. He loved when they came to visit, his last words always being, “Come again!” He also leaves behind his sister-in-law Nedi Koelewyn (Peter) and many friends made during his years of ministry.

There will be an opportunity to pay your last respects and visit with the family on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC.

On Wednesday, February 14, 2024, at 1:00 pm there will be a Graveside Service at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, 1991 Bernard Avenue, Kelowna, BC.  Waldemar will be laid to rest beside his beloved Valentine who predeceased him in June 2023. 

Following the interment at the cemetery, a Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 14, at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2091 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, BC. If you are unable to attend in person, please join the family online by Livestream at the time of the service (see below), a recording will be made available to view shortly thereafter.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

LIVESTREAM: Christ Lutheran Church YouTube Channel

Tuesday, February 13, 2024, from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC

Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 2:00 pm

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2091 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, BC

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