Gregory J. Tilkes,

Gregory J. Tilkes, age 81 of Faribault, MN, died peacefully and surrounded by his family on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at the Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis.

Public graveside services will be held 2:00 p.m. Monday, May 18, 2020, at St. Mary’s Cemetery, North Washington with Rev. Ken Glaser presiding. Attendees are asked to bring a chair and practice social distancing.

A private family visitation will the held in the morning before the graveside services. Funeral arrangements are with Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton.

Gregory Joseph Tilkes was born in New Hampton on September 3, 1938, the youngest son of Joseph and Rose (Wegner) Tilkes’ eight children. He received his education at St. Mary’s School in North Washington, and on March 11, 1959, he was inducted into the U.S. Army. Greg served his country for three years, in which time he was stationed in Germany.

Greg was an outstanding dancer, which proved to be a blessing as he met Elaine Burke at a wedding dance in the early 1960s. The couple began dating, fell in love and on June 22, 1963, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in New Hampton, they exchanged their vows and eventually welcomed three children — Mark, Theresa and Jeff.

His children remember growing up with a father who set an example of a strong work ethic, had a great sense of humor, had a great singing voice and really never met a stranger. He loved talking to people, a trait he kept his entire life.

He worked at Hydrolite in Nashua before moving onto Wegner Welding, which eventually became New Hampton Metal Fab, where he worked until he retired in the late 1990s, but we’re using the word “retired” very loosely as you will see.

From a young age, he loved to fix things and paint; in fact, he painted the original Fredericksburg Sportsman’s Club logo, and Greg was the kind of guy who was always “piddling” in his garage. He didn’t buy his tools; he made them. If it couldn’t be fixed by Greg, it was simply unfixable.

Elaine passed away in 1993. Greg continued to work at New Hampton Metal Fab until that so-called retirement, when he moved to Faribault, Minnesota, and he began working for Sellner Tilt-A-Whirl in the city known as the “Tilt-A-Whirl Capital of the World.” Although the company changed hands a couple of times, the new owners always wanted Greg to stay on and return to work after his winters in Arizona.

Greg never stopped dancing, and he was grateful for Bev, his dance partner. If he wasn’t working or piddling in that garage, he stayed busy. He loved to hunt and fish. He took immaculate care of all his vehicles. Both inside and out, Greg’s trucks literally shined.

He was a member of the North Washington Church Men’s Choir in his younger days and also belonged to the VFW post in Alta Vista.

Greg was a “multi-faceted” man who had many interests, but his No. 1 priority was always his family, and they will miss seeing Dad “piddling” in his garage and Grandpa telling them stories and jokes but they are appreciative that he is at peace.

Survivors include three children, Mark (Geri) Tilkes of Evergreen Park, IL, Theresa (Bob) Schulz of Fredericksburg, Jeff (Becky) Tilkes of Cedar Rapids; eight grandchildren, Mark Tilkes, Brenna Tilkes, Kayla Tilkes, Tara Tilkes, Ella Tilkes, Pierce Schulz, Olivia Tilkes and Tyler Tilkes; two brothers, Vincent Tilkes of Arroyo Grande, CA, Lavern (Connie) Tilkes of New Hampton; four sisters, Rosella (Jack) Kerkove of North Washington, Jane (Gene) Lynch of Lawler, Laurine Whalen, Darlene Franzen, both of New Hampton; special friend, Bev Jodsaas of St. Paul.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Elaine in 1993; sister, Francie Chapman; brothers-in-law, Claude Wisher, Jack Chapman, Joe Whalen, Leo Franzen, Sylvester Wegner, Leonard Rosonke, Jim Burke; sister-in-law, Geraldine Tilkes.

Survivors include three children, Mark (Geri) Tilkes of Evergreen Park, IL, Theresa (Bob) Schulz of Fredericksburg, Jeff (Becky) Tilkes of Cedar Rapids; eight grandchildren, Mark Tilkes, Brenna Tilkes, Kayla Tilkes, Tara Tilkes, Ella Tilkes, Pierce Schulz, Olivia Tilkes and Tyler Tilkes; two brothers, Vincent Tilkes of Arroyo Grande, CA, Lavern (Connie) Tilkes of New Hampton; four sisters, Rosella (Jack) Kerkove of North Washington, Jane (Gene) Lynch of Lawler, Laurine Whalen, Darlene Franzen, both of New Hampton; special friend, Bev Jodsaas of St. Paul.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Elaine in 1993; sister, Francie Chapman; brothers-in-law, Claude Wisher, Jack Chapman, Joe Whalen, Leo Franzen, Sylvester Wegner, Leonard Rosonke, Jim Burke; sister-in-law, Geraldine Tilkes.

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111
Email: tribune@nhtrib.com

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to Tribune Newsletter feed
Comment Here