Ralph Schalk1921 - 2010
Ralph Schalk, age 89, of Hawks and Lake Nettie, Michigan,
passed away Saturday, June 5, 2010 at
Orchard Foster Care Home in Posen Township.
Ralph Adolph Schalk was born January 25, 1921 to the late
Adolph and Emma (Berg) Schalk on their family farm in Belknap Township.
Ralph was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and served in the
European Theater of Operations. He was awarded two Purple Heart Medals for
wounds received in action and was given an Honorable Discharge in 1945, Ralph
married the former Ruth Radka on December 28, 1946, at St. John Lutheran Church
in Rogers City and they would make their home in Bruningsville, just south of
Mr. Schalk went to work for the Bradley Transportation Company aboard the
SS Carl D. Bradley. In 1950, Irvin L. Clymer, President of Bradley
Transportation Co. awarded a contract to Manitowac Shipbuilding Co. to build the
largest self-unloading bulk freighter on the Great Lakes. The new 665 foot vessel
was named John G. Munson for the former President of both Michigan Limestone
& Chemical Co. and its Bradley Transportation Line, both located in Rogers City,
During the summer of 1952, Mr. Schalk was sent to Manitowac, Wisconsin, to help
with the final installation and operation of the new ship’s unloading equipment.
On August 21, 1952, Ralph was a proud crew member when the big freighter
departed Manitowac on her maiden voyage to the Port of Calcite under the command
of Captain Donald Nauts. Ralph was responsible for the operation and maintenance
of the equipment that unloaded the ship’s cargo. On July 4, 1953, the Munson set a
new Great Lakes limestone cargo record when it loaded 21,011 tons of limestone at
Calcite bound for the U.S. Steel mill at Gary, Indiana. Ralph continued to serve as
conveyorman aboard the John G. Munson until he retired in 1976 after 30 years of
service with the Bradley Transportation Co.
It was about this time when the Schalks moved to the family farm where Ralph
was born in Belknap Township, and then later moved to a home located on the shore
of Lake Nettie. Ralph’s wife, Ruth, passed away on November 29, 1989. Ralph
later married Beatrice Brietzke on December 22, 1990 at Faith Lutheran Church in
Hawks. For the most part, Ralph and Bea lived on Bea’s farm in Hawks but
“vacationed” many times to Ralph’s home at Lake Nettie.
Ralph was very good at making things look nice. He took good care of his Lake
Nettie property as well as the lawn, flower beds, and vegetable garden in Hawks.
He was a great hunter, avid fisherman, enjoyed snowmobiling and card playing,
especially “Spitzer.” Ralph was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Hawks
where he served as Elder and also a choir member, Rogers City Servicemen’s Club,
Rogers City V.F.W. Post #607, German American Club, Golden Agers Group, and a
member of the P.L.P. hunting club located south of Millersburg. Ralph was inducted
into the Great Lakes Lore Museum Hall of Fame in 2009.
Mr. Schalk is survived by:
his beloved wife, Beatrice;
his two dear children, Richard (Barbara) Schalk of Lake Orion, MI, and
Patti (Tom) Marshall-Doan of Brighton, MI;
three loving grandchildren, Chad (Eugenia) Marshall, Kyle Marshall, and
Emily (Richard) Duchon;
and Bea’s children, Robert (Janet) Brietzke, Richard (Andrea) Brietzke, and
David (Jennine) Brietzke;
many nieces and nephews; and
his brother, Raymond Schalk
He was preceded in death by:
nine siblings, Mabel Streich, Minnie Boetcher, Harry Schalk, Margaret Karsten,
Adolph Schalk, Jr., Gertrude Gross, Allen Schalk, Berniece Baker,
and Edmond Schalk;
Bea’s son and Ralph’s farming partner, Bill Brietzke.
Friends may call at the Beck Funeral Home in Rogers City where visitation will be
on Tuesday from 2:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. There will be a parish prayer service at
7:00 P.M. Tuesday at the funeral home. Funeral Service will take place 11:00 A.M.
Wednesday at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Belknap with Pastor Jack Ferguson
Internment will be at Memorial Park Cemetery in Rogers City. Full military
honors will be accorded by V.F.W. Post #607 at the graveside.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to
Faith Lutheran Church in Hawks or to Hospice of the Sunrise Shore.
Arrangements entrusted to Cederberg & Brietzke Funeral Home of Saginaw.