Edward ‘Ed’ Tanke

March 11, 1933 - April 23, 2022

Edward “Ed” Tanke passed away on Saturday, April 23, 2022, with his children at his side. Ed was born on March 11, 1933, in La Crosse, the oldest of three sons to Clarence (Pete) and Dorothy Tanke.

Edward C TankeEd grew up in La Crosse, graduating from Central High School where he made numerous lifelong friends and met the love of his life, Miriam Dragsbak. Miriam and Ed were married in 1952 and welcomed their first son, Steve, in 1953.

Ed started his career working for Heileman Brewing and continued there as his family grew to include Lynn, Tim and Scott. Caring for his family was extremely important to Ed, and this remained his top priority throughout his life. After several years at the brewery, Ed began working at Klein Insurance, where he grew and expanded the business, finally buying it in 1980. Together, with his family and many great employees, he built the organization into one of the prominent agencies in Wisconsin. Ed was well-known throughout the industry for his great customer service, honesty and integrity.

In 1998, Ed retired, and he and Miriam took several trips to see the world, but service to their family, community and others remained their focus. Together, they invested their time, energy and resources in volunteering at various organizations in the La Crosse area. Of all charities and organizations, none was more important to them than the Salvation Army, as Miriam’s parents had served as officers. Ed received much comfort and satisfaction by helping others and continued to do so long after Miriam was unable to accompany him. Together, in 2010, they received the Salvation Army Red Shield Award and in 2021, Ed received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Ed donated thousands of hours to his community, served on numerous boards, and chaired a United Way Annual Campaign.

Ed was friendly and gregarious, a real people person. Ed organized family gatherings, planned fishing expeditions, golf outings, lunches, and made sure family and friends stayed in contact.

The most important things in Ed’s life were his family and his faith. He and Miriam were proud and active members of their church, and Ed looked forward to Bible study group each week. When Miriam was diagnosed with dementia and needed extended care, Ed spent the majority of his time with her taking long walks and listening to gospel music. After Miriam’s passing, Ed continued going to the facility regularly to help others and lead support groups.

Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Dorothy Tanke; his wife, Miriam; brother, Paul and wife, Toni; sister-in-law, Val; his great-grandson, Theodore Edward; his brother, Jerry; his son, Steve and wife Suzanne (Sude); his daughter, Lynn and husband, Dean Woodward; his son Tim and wife Melissa; son, Scott and wife Jennifer; 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

The Tanke Family would like to thank the amazing staff at Eagle Crest North who took exceptional care of our father and provided him with so much love and kindness. We would also like to thank the Gundersen Hospice Team, with a very special and heartfelt thank you to Dr. Larry Skendzel.

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, at First Free Church at 123 Mason St. in Onalaska, WI. Visitation will be from 9-10:30 a.m. before the service. Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of Onalaska is helping the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the La Crosse Salvation Army made in Ed’s name are preferred.