1962 - 2005
Carl Joseph Herke was born in Yakima on April 22, 1962 to Joseph and Geraldine Herke. He lived his entire life in Cowiche, raised on the family farm.
Mr. Herke’s passion for farming and “big toys” began at the young age of four when he began to drive tractor without his feet even touching the pedals. He possessed an innate ability to fix and operate heavy machinery, turning an enjoyable skill into a successful business; he was considered an expert on the backhoe, caterpillar, trencher, dump truck road grader and track hoe. He loved his work and experienced a thrill when maneuvering tight locations and solving complicated situations ibalance and precision.
Following his graduation from Highland High School in 1981, he began a more active role in the family businesses. Mr. Herke shared a special relationship with his father and together they expanded the family farm and excavation business, eventually creating Herke and Herke Enterprises. He enjoyed having his young children with him during the day and frequently they could be seen riding with him in his trucks and other “big toys.”
An unpretentious and trusting man, he dealt with other based on a handshake and man’s word. He was known as generous man always willing to pitch in and help friends and family. Mr. Herke’s favorite pastimes included boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing, snowmobiling and four-wheeling. He loved his children very much and spent as much time as possible with them, bringing together friends and family for weekend outings and vacations.
Mr. Herke died due to complications from amyloidosis in 2005. He was 43. He was survived by his two children, Ahnalee Louise Herke and Paul Weston Herke; his parents, Joseph and Geraldine; his grandmother, Willa Hambrook; two sisters, Elizabeth (Joseph) Stump and Teresa (Pat) Long.
Family and friends of Mr. Herke established the Carl Herke Memorial scholarship at the time of his death. The scholarship is awarded yearly in his honor to graduating seniors of Highland High School pursuing a two year degree at an accredited community college or technical school.