John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
On December 18, 1909, my father, Harry William Manke was born to William and Clara Manke in the Town of Granville, in North Milwaukee. He grew up and worked in the Manke Greenhouse business. He and his brothers had to walk a long distance to go to school, Household chores had to be done before going to school. Hard work was a way of life with him. He worked at several jobs in his life before ending up at Pabst Brewing Company, because he could speak German and English. He married Helen Schumacher and they had six children.
During World War II, he was told to go to the draft board so he would go into the military. When He told them I will join the military, but you will have to feed and take care of my wife and five children. Upon hearing this statement, they told him to go home. He had too many children to be drafted. He never had to serve in the military, but two of his brothers and several of his first cousins (also first cousins of my mother before marriage) did serve in the U.S. Army. Of these men, only one is still alive today, Rudy Manke.
I miss my dad. He was always good to us children. He had a lot of stomach problems, including bleeding ulcers, but he always worked hard. He set a wonderful example to us. His downfall was that he enjoyed to drink beer, too much. In 1962, at the age of 52, he passed away of a cerebral hemorrhage at home. It was a painful way to die and he was home alone when this happened. I still miss him a lot. Happy birthday dad. Rest in peace.