Bruno Walke, 82, of Riverside, died peacefully on March 24, 2021 after a long, blessed life surrounded by his loving family.
Mr. Walke was born in1938 in Werschetz, Yugoslavia, now known as Vršac, Serbia. Born prematurely at the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Walke often referred to himself as a “little dachshund” because of his small stature but strong will. He was baptized at St. Gerhard Church and was a faithful practicing Catholic for the remainder of his life.
As the war escalated, Mr. Walke, his two younger brothers and his mother were separated from their father, and all three boys and their mother were placed in a starvation camp.
With the assistance of various family members and friends, Mr. Walke and his family were able to ultimately escape and make their way to Germany where they were reunited as a family once again in post-World War II occupied Germany. Once they were together and with the help of Catholic Relief Services, they were able to apply for asylum in the United States and arrived at Union Station in Chicago in the spring of 1952.
Mr. Walke was very proud of his education. He began his formal education at the age of 10, attended St Aloysius Elementary School in Wicker Park, DePaul Academy in Lincoln Park, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Southern Illinois University.
Because of belief in the restorative nature of education, he spent the next 34 years as a science teacher at Morton East High School, serving the immigrant communities until he retired in 1999. However, he continued his service through his volunteer work by teaching English to Mexican immigrants at the School on Wheels and at the Catholic Charities Food Pantry.
Although Mr. Walke often said he was a shy person, he was happiest when “holding court” in the living room, breakfast room or on the back porch with his family, friends or someone he had just met. In the Walke house, there was never a shortage of “Bruno stories.” This warmth was especially salient with his children but even more so with his grandchildren, whom he loved very deeply and tenderly.
The two most important things in his life, however, were his faith and his wife, Mary Anne. He attended mass weekly at St. Mary Parish in Riverside and humbly modeled his devotion to his friends and family. His faith-filled marriage to Mary Anne served as a distinct model not only to his four children, but many others who were graced to witness this union.
Mr. Walke was the husband of 46 years to Mary Anne (nee Kelly); the father of Elise (Brian) Murray, Bernhard (Rosa), Peter (Joy) and Mark (Tabaitha); the grandfather of Isabel, Genevieve, Elena, Mason, Tegan and Maxwell; and the brother of Wolfgang (late Roseann). He was preceded in death by his younger brother, Manfred, and his parents, Wilhelmine and Alfred. He was loved by countless nieces, nephews, former students, friends and family and his presence will be profoundly missed.
Visitation is Tuesday, March 30, from 3 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, March 31, from 8:30 a.m. till time of services at 9:30 a.m. at Ivins/Moravecek Funeral Home, 80 E. Burlington St., Riverside. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary Church at 10 a.m.
Memorial donations are appreciated to Catholic Relief Services, 228 W. Lexington St., Baltimore, Maryland, 21201 (www.crs.org).