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April 22, 1953 - January 10, 2024
Robert A. Radke died January 10th, 2024 at St. Lukes Hospital in Duluth after a short fight with a rare and aggressive brain cancer. He was born in Minneapolis at the Swedish Hospital (now HCMC) on April 22nd, 1953 to a young medical student and his beautiful new bride (Dr. Robert Radke and Joann Fairchild-Radke). His childhood was spent in St. Louis Park, Minnesota; The White Earth Reservation (where his father worked for the Indian Health Service); Montevideo, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota (where he attended de La Salle High School); and Milan, Minnesota where he graduated high school in 1971. Robert attended Black Hills State University where he majored in history and political science, fell in love with the Black Hills, and developed his life-long passion for history.
After graduating from Black Hills State, Robert moved back to Minnesota, got married, and had two sons Scott (Two Harbors, MN) and Timothy (Palatine, IL). Robert worked for the State of Minnesota for many years at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center and The Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay. He was a kind hearted humanitarian who cared deeply for the welfare of children, people who had mental health needs, cognitive disabilities, and people who struggled with alcohol addiction. Robert was also an animal lover (although he would never admit it) and was the archetypal father figure who resisted (fought at times) bringing pets into the house and would then proceed to become codependent with them… all the while, denying it.
Above all, Robert loved his sons, grandchildren, family, and friends. He wanted nothing more in life than to spend time with them. He also held his friends from the Warren/Zurn family from White Earth very dear all of his life. Until the end, Robert was planning trips the family could take so they could be together. He is survived by his two sons Scott (Andrea) and Timothy (Kelly) and his grandchildren, William, Elizabeth, Isabel, Hannah, and Olivia, as well as his three brothers (Tom, Jim, & Kurt) and a sister (Anne). He was preceded in death by his parents and a daughter, Emily.
Robert was a deeply private man, a voracious reader of history, avid consumer of music and culture, and meticulous (perish the thought, tedious) maintainer of anything mechanical. He enjoyed the beauty of nature whether it was along Lake Superior, the Black Hills, White Earth, or the Minnesota River Valley. He wouldn’t want a big ordeal in his memory so, a simple potluck (he spent his life in rural Minnesota, what would you expect) and gathering of friends and family will be held in the Summer of 2024.
In leu of flowers, please donate to Cradle of Hope at https://cradleofhope.kindful.com/ or to the Caring Closet for Students (material donations accepted at CO-OP Light and Power in Two Harbors, MN). Robert’s sons wish to thank the kind and compassionate hospice staff at St. Luke’s in Duluth, the animal therapy program, and the community of first responders in Lake County, Minnesota.