Jerome Luther “Jerry” Hartke, 87, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family on January 30, 2020 in Worcester, MA. Jerry loved his family unconditionally, was a generous friend to many and was a tireless storyteller. He leaves his beloved wife Marilyn of Westborough and devoted daughters Linda of Baltimore, MD, Janet (Mark Bowser) of Dover, MA, and Sue (Anna Bowman) of Carnation, WA, along with loving nieces and nephews. “Papa” was cherished by his grandchildren Lexie and William of Somerville and Boston, MA. He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter Nancy Ann.
He was born on October 26, 1932 in Wichita, Kansas to Reinhold C. and Agnes Ninneman Hartke, and was raised in Herington, KS, baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Herington High School in 1950. He was active in amateur radio as W0AMG and W1ERJ. He received his BSEE in 1955 and his MS in physics in 1956, both from Kansas State University. After serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he received his PhD in physics from the University of Illinois in 1961.
He met Marilyn Morton at K-State and they married on June 3, 1956 at the Wamego United Methodist Church. They were married 63 years -- finding joy together, nurturing a family, and making a lifetime of wonderful memories traveling the world with family and friends.
Jerry’s Christian faith was a central part of his life and he loved to study the Bible. He and Marilyn were active members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sudbury, MA and more recently of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Westborough, MA.
His favorite pastimes were spending time with his children and grandchildren, fishing for salmon and bass at Castle Island Camps in Maine, tying traditional salmon flies, playing bridge, and building a digital family archive. He and Marilyn lived in Sudbury, MA for 40 years before retiring to Lancaster in 2005 and then to Westborough in 2017.
Prior to his retirement, Jerry was first employed as a senior research scientist at Xerox Corporation, Webster, NY, later as research group leader at Ion Physics Corporation, Burlington, MA, and then as technical director and general manager of KEV Electronics, Wilmington, MA. Jerry founded KSW Electronics in Burlington, MA and served as its president until its acquisition by Loral, serving as Vice-President and General Manager of its Semiconductor Division, after which he founded Media Sciences, Inc. and was its president until his retirement in 2011.
A memorial service will celebrate Jerry’s life at 11 am, Saturday, February 15th at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Westborough, MA with interment at a later date in Wamego, KS.
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 183 W. Main St., Westborough, MA 01581 or www.goodshepherdcares.org
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