Carl Marhenke, 86


Carl Arthur Marhenke, 86 of Tekamah, Neb., passed away on Sept. 13, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of love, dedication and cherished memories. 

Born on Nov. 22, 1936, in Tekamah, Neb., Carl was the son of Walter Fred Marhenke and Mary Elizabeth (Corey) Marhenke. He was baptized at the Divide Center Presbyterian Church, where his faith began to shape his life's journey.

Upon graduating from high school, Carl embarked on a new adventure by joining the United States Army on Oct. 10, 1955. His military service, spanning two years, nine months, six days, 23 hours and 18 minutes, a joke Carl used since he was discharged from the Army. Carl's military experience left an enduring impression on him, molding his understanding of duty and dedication to his nation. His deep love for his country and unwavering patriotism were threads woven into the fabric of his entire life.    

Carl and Irene (Christofferson) Marhenke married on April 7, 1962 at the Lutheran Church in Blair Nebraska. They lived their life together in Tekamah, where they raised four daughters; this speaks to his dedication to family and the love he shared with his wife. With the birth of his oldest daughter, Diane, he was set on a course that impacted many. Carl was a strong advocate and campaigned diligently to the Unicameral to improve the lives of those with disabilities.

Carl's career narrative is one that embraces change and circumstance. Starting as a diesel mechanic for John Deere, he engaged with the mechanics of the world. A stint as an electrician business owner followed, an endeavor that underscored his ability to adapt in the face of adversity. Later, roles at the Nebraska State Penitentiary and the Black Hill Energy Company arose from practicality. Carl's career story mirrors his ability to adapt and navigate through various stages of life. In 2002, he closed this career chapter and retired to hunt fulltime for Ralph Kohler.

With over 40-plus years as a waterfowl hunting guide for Ralph Kohler, Carl's passion for the hunting can hardly be overstated. Amidst a household of four daughters, hunting season became his sanctuary, allowing him to engage in a pursuit he cherished. Beyond the hunt itself, he entertained fellow hunters with stories and meals, making him a true cornerstone of the blind.

Duck and goose calls became morning alarms during hunting season for the daughters in the household, abolishing the concept of sleeping in. A good number of the grandchildren had the chance to share in Grandpa’s hunting moments with Carl. At some juncture, he earned the nickname "Killer Karl," undoubtedly accompanied by an intriguing and amusing tale. Through hunting Carl learned the beauty of nature, all creatures that not only fly, but walk on this earth to the sunrises and sunsets.

He had an innate knack for predicting a splendid sunrise, once remarking, "God made the trip well worth the gas. The sky was breathtaking." He would be sure to pull out his iPad to capture the moment to share with everyone to see. Coupled with his creativity, Carl dabbled in writing and poetry, founding the "Kohler Report" blog.

This platform served as a virtual haven for fellow hunters. It became a resource for other hunters to enjoy the days hunt when they were unable to be in the blinds. Carl infused each post with his days events, consistently ending with a call to "say a prayer for our military heroes serving our country." His blog garnered a devoted following. One of his last series, in November 2014, was about "Filling the Void," as Ralph retired. It marked the end of this chapter in Carl's life as well, after over four decades of hunting and creating cherished memories. It is evident to do what you love to live a full balanced life.

The next chapter for Carl was bees! beekeeping—a fulfilling hobby that he embraced with fervor. Carl once captured a swarm, all by himself, that was hanging in a bush in Tekamah, Carl describes it as quite a thrill. Building his own style of beehives and joining the Omaha Bee Club enriched this pursuit. From artistic beekeeping anecdotes to endless stories, beekeeping was a vibrant yet succinct episode in his life, showcasing his creative essence. Carl's Perpetual Projects: Carl had a way of always being on to the next thing.

Beekeeping, even though it was just a brief part of his life, exemplified this. He didn't just keep bees; he constructed things, whether it was making Willow canes, meat smokers to fryers or diving into countless other projects. Carl's curiosity and keen intellect showed in everything he did. Whether he was working with his hands or pursuing other interests, he approached it with the same curiosity. With Carl, you always knew where you stood, but knew he would go out of his way to help wherever he could.

He is survived by his loving wife, Irene; daughters: Mary (Mike) Anderson of Tekamah, Vickie (Mike) Stang of Herman and Janet (Bob) Blair of Maywood, Mo.. He also leaves behind his five grandchildren: Mitchell (Natalie), Matthew (Liz), Kyle (Taylor), Sarah (Andy) and Amy (Lance), and two great grandchildren: Otto and Oliver Anderson; each a testament to his enduring love and influence.

Carl joins in eternity his daughter Diane Marhenke, his father Walter Fred, mother Mary Elizabeth and his siblings William Charles, Robert Walter, Richard Dean, Elizabeth Ann, David Hebert. Their spirits live on, a testament to the bonds of family that endure beyond earthly bounds.

A celebration of Carl's life will be held on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023 at The United Methodist Church of Tekamah with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. and service at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Tekamah VFW Post 3304, Tekamah Herman Volunteer Fire and Rescue or Tekamah Chat Center.

Pallbearers will be Mike Anderson, Mike Stang, Bob Blair, Mitch Anderson, Matt Anderson and Kyle Stang. Honorary pallbearers are Sarah Stang, Amy Blair, Natalie Anderson, Taylor Stang and Liz Rogers. 

As we bid farewell to Carl Arthur Marhenke, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, and along with friends, let us remember his resilience, and his unwavering love for family and country. It's impossible not to reflect on the countless people who will sense the absence Carl's departure has brought into our lives. "Filling The Void" he leaves behind is bound to be a difficult journey for us. People like "Killer Karl" are truly one-of-a-kind. Goodbye, may you rest in peace.

Services provided by Campbell Aman Funeral Home, Blair.