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1940 William Woodke 2023

William "Bill" Woodke

May 9, 1940 — September 24, 2023


William "Bill" Woodke  

May 9, 1940-September 24, 2023


William "Bill" Woodke, 83, of La Porte, Indiana, passed away Sunday, September 24, 2023 at Life Care Center, Michigan City, IN.


He was born May 9, 1940 in Gary, Indiana, the son of Robert Edward Woodke and Dorothea (Coates) Woodke.


William was a graduate of Westville High School and married the love of his life, Jeanette Bartmess Woodke, on November 19, 1960.  He was drafted into the United States Army and served from 1963 to 1965. William stood guard on the Potomac River for the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. He was honorably discharged in New York, where he was met by his wife and together, they attended the New York World's Fair. William always had a love for classic cars and while he held a few different jobs, including his last job at Dorman Garage in La Porte, his work as a mechanic for Kes Auto for 32 years was his dream job. In 1976, he participated with Dr. Kesling's 1911 Model T Ford in the Around the World race, driving the final leg with Jeanette from Times Square to the Golden Gate Bridge. He was the mechanic for most of the classic cars in the La Porte Historical Museum and also had a few of his own, including a 1927 Model T Ford, a 1948 Crosley and a 1953 Dodge Truck. William also loved tractors and owned a 1949 FarmAll and a 1930 Fordson. He was a member of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club since 1972, the Winamac Old Auto Club since 1962, the Model T Ford Club of America, the Model T Ford Club International, the American Legion Post 502, South Haven, the Sunday Farmers Tractor Club and was a life member of the La Porte Historical Society Museum. William enjoyed camping with his family, from tents to their most recent motorhomes.  He loved dancing with Jeanette, especially cutting a rug with a jitterbug.  He adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and will be missed by all who knew him.


William is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jeanette; son, Todd Woodke of La Porte, IN; daughter, Tina (Robert) DeWitt of Kingsbury, IN; sister, Charlotte (Raymond) Schmidt of Kissimmee, FL; three grandchildren, Sara (Jeffrey) Young, Ashley (Chad) Biberstine, Alyssa (Cody) Stace; two great-grandchildren, William J. Young and Ava Marie Young.


He was preceded in death by his parents and his aunt and uncle, Robert and Geraldine Coates, who raised him after the death of his parents.


Arrangements are being entrusted to Haverstock Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 602 Maple Ave., La Porte, IN, where the family will receive friends for a visitation on Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. A Celebration of William's Life service will be held on Friday, September 29, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home with Roy Foreman, officiating. Interment will follow at the Door Village Cemetery, La Porte, Indiana. All times are central time.


Memorial contributions may be made in William's honor to the Great Lakes Museum of Military History, c/o Vice President Todd Woodke, 9202 W. SR-2, La Porte, IN 46350.


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