Genevieve Runke, age 91, died peacefully on April 1, 2015 at St Michael’s Hospital ICU after a 10-year struggle with multiple myeloma.
Gen was born August 7, 1923, in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, the daughter of Oscar and Mantie Christianson. She graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School, and then worked for the Door County Fruit Growers Co-Op as a secretary and, later, at the Door County Vocational and Technical School. She was a member of, and advisor to the Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (UWSP).
In 1948, Gen married the love of her life Henry M. Runke, UWSP Emeritus Professor of Art. She supported him during his 35-year University teaching career, helping with various school projects, summer art workshops and artistic creations. In addition to raising their five children, she also taught Sunday school at Trinity Lutheran Church. Family and friends were Gen’s passion and delight. She was always willing to help in any way she could. She was a kind, compassionate, and generous person who loved to share good conversation over a cup of coffee.
Proud of her Norwegian heritage, Gen also loved lefse, lutefisk, and rommegrot. Gen thoroughly cherished her family and had a positive outlook on life that was exemplary. She loved animals and over the years had many pets, especially dogs. Gen donated to many charities including rescue shelters, wildlife habitat preservation organizations, the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, just to name a few.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Henry M. Runke, daughter-in-law, Kathy Runke, and two sisters: Marie (Joseph) Johnston, and Dorothy (Lawrence) Washburn. Genevieve is survived by her sister, Grace Audette; five children: Henry “Hal” (Bonnie) Runke, John (Kathy) Runke, Eric Runke, Jean (Alfred) Pieper and Rex (Wendy) Runke; three grandchildren: Samantha Apoo, Ryon Runke and Zackory Runke; and one great grandchild, Henry Apoo. She also leaves behind numerous loving relatives and friends.
Gen requested a private memorial service for immediate family members. In keeping with her willingness to help others, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to either the Humane Society of Portage County or to Operation Bootstrap – Crisis Assistance are preferred for anyone wishing to make a contribution. The family wishes to give their heartfelt thanks to all who cared for Gen during her illness and loved her in life.
Online condolences may be made at www.bostonfuneralhome.net.
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