Aug. 14, 1939-July 16, 2019
ALEXANDRIA — Services for Bernard “Bernie” Wambeke, 79, of Alexandria, will be at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. today at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria, with parish prayers at 5 p.m. and a Knights of Columbus Rosary at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will continue at 10 a.m. Friday. Entombment will follow at St. Mary’s Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his honor are preferred to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria. Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory.
He died Tuesday, July 16, 2019, after a short, hard-fought battle with a rare inflammatory disease, HLH, which was triggered by a blood cancer. Bernie died courageously at his home in Alexandria, surrounded by his loving family. Bernard “Bernie” Alphonse Wambeke was born Aug. 14, 1939, in Granite Falls to John and Mary (VanOverbeke) Wambeke. He grew up in the Green Valley area before graduating from Cottonwood High School. Following high school, Bernie attended Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis for carpentry. After school he started his own construction business, then eventually moved to Alexandria and started a new construction business, known as Wambeke Family Builders. One fateful evening in 1959, at a dance at the Blue Moon in Marshall, Bernie met his future wife, Darlene Bottelberghe. The two were united in marriage in 1960 in Minneota at St. Edward’s Catholic Church and had five children: Carrie Jo, Timothy John, Rebecca Lynn, Debra Jean, and Julie Ann. Bernie raised his children in the Marshall area before moving to Alexandria.
While living in Alexandria, Bernie became a well-known and well-loved member of the community; he was very active in his beloved church community of St. Mary’s, and was a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus. After he retired from the construction business, he still devoted his time to working for Habitat for Humanity. Bernie’s name became synonymous with always being willing to generously apply his talents for the good of others. In his spare time, Bernie could be found riding his lawn mower, Brandy-Coke in hand, or doting on who he called “Bernie’s Boys” — his daughters and grandchildren who were of utmost importance in his life, and of whom he was so proud. A kind, gentle, and loving man who stood for his convictions and beliefs, Bernie was not afraid of working behind the scenes without public recognition. He was a man of humble grace, and his parting wisdom to all was: be strong, move on, and most importantly, be honest.
Left to cherish Bernie’s memory are his devoted wife of 58 years, Darlene Wambeke; daughters, Carrie (Alan) Lange, Becky (Brett) Dexheimer, Deb (Pete) Jung, and Julie (Greg) Olson; grandchildren, AJ, Matt, Brian, and Tausha Lange, Jacob and Jessica Dexheimer, Gabbi, MJ, and Nick Jung, and Mitchell and Abby Olson; great-grandchildren, Emma, Clay, and Carter; brothers, Daniel (Helen) Wambeke and John Jr. (Selene) Wambeke, and sisters, Mary Ann Beabout and Diane (Wendell) Rude.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Mary Wambeke; infant son, Timothy Wambeke; brothers, Donald and Richard Wambeke, and sister, JoAnn Matthys.