1922 Eleanor 2019

Eleanor J. Dretzke

May 17, 1922 — October 20, 2019

Eleanor Jane Dretzke went to be with her Lord on October 20, 2019. She was born May 17, 1922, in the Town of Dupont, Waupaca County, Wisconsin, daughter of Ernest and Lillian Denke. She resided on the Denke family farm until her high school graduation.

Eleanor attended Whitewater Teachers College (now called University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) for one year and then worked for the Wisconsin Telephone Company in Milwaukee. Eleanor met her future husband, Carl Dretzke, at the Caroline Ballroom, a popular gathering place for young people at that time.

Eleanor and Carl were married June 19, 1943, in Marion, Wisconsin. They lived on a farm with Carl’s parents, Herman and Martha Dretzke, in the Town of Union, before moving to Manawa in 1959. Eleanor was a bookkeeper in family businesses (Farmway Company and Trade Winds) before her election to the office of Waupaca County Clerk. Eleanor was the first woman to be elected as Waupaca County Clerk, a position she held for 16 years. She retired in December 1988.

Eleanor enjoyed taking trips, and over the years she traveled to Hawaii several times to spend time with relatives who lived in Waialua. She also traveled with her daughter to numerous destinations including Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.K., and several countries in Europe. Eleanor was a very active member of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manawa, where she participated in Ladies Aid, was a member of the Finance Committee and Altar Guild, and served as a volunteer in the church office. In her spare time, Eleanor liked to read and to bake. She was known among family and friends as a very skilled pie maker.

Survivors include her four children: Douglas (Junene) Dretzke, Beverly (Paul Schaleger) Dretzke, Gary (Sharon) Dretzke, and Ronald (Debra) Dretzke; four grandchildren: Steven, Susan, Eric, and Nicole; five great grandchildren: Cora, Clark, Aven, Bodhi, and Rowan.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Carl; sister, Naomi McMahan; brother, Lee Denke; brother-in-law, Wilbert Knaack and sister-in-law, Sadie Knaack.

The funeral for Eleanor will be held on Monday, October 28, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manawa with Rev. Nathan Reichle officiating. Burial will be in Little Wolf Cemetery, Town of Little Wolf. A visitation for Eleanor will be held at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.

Memorials may be given to St. Paul Lutheran Church and School, Manawa.

The family would like to thank the staff at Trinity Terrace in New London and ThedaCare Hospice for their loving care of Eleanor.


St. Paul Lutheran Church -Manawa
  • 750 Depot Street
    Manawa, WI 54949

Funeral Service

St. Paul Lutheran Church -Manawa
  • 750 Depot Street
    Manawa, WI 54949
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