SAVANNA—Marilyn J. Radke, 92, passed away Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at Big Meadows Nursing Home in Savanna.
Marilyn was born April 19, 1927, to Harry and Mina (Bahnsen) Radke. Marilyn attended Avenue Grade School in Savanna. She received a bronze metal as outstanding graduate.
Marilyn graduated as valedictorian of her Class of 1945 from the Savanna High School. She received a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., and a M.A. degree from Northwestern University, in Evanston in teaching English.
She began her teaching career in Elko, Nev. She then taught English for three years in East Peoria High School. In 1955 she moved to Milwaukee, Wis., where she was the first teacher to be hired to teach English and serve as chairman of the English department of the Nicolet High School, a new school built to serve the northernmost suburbs of Milwaukee County.
Education and teaching her students were always her main interest and passion. Education was always important to Marilyn. She loved teaching students and often took a personal interest in her students, demonstrating her care and concern for them beyond the classroom.
Marilyn received several "teacher of the year" awards. Marilyn was always mentioned in reports that the school asked former students to comment on their preparation of life as the person most influential in their chosen careers.
Marilyn was honored for several scholarships to the University of Hawaii and the University of Minnesota, and the Milwaukee chapter for the English-speaking union selected her to study with a scholarship in England. Upon her return she was added to their board for granting new scholarships.
Marilyn loved traveling. She visited all the countries of Europe, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, the Canary Islands, Fiji Islands, Jamaica and Haiti.
She is survived by one sister, Lorraine Radke, Savanna; a nephew Dale Brown; a niece, Diane Brown; great-nephew, Frank (Lauree) Brown; great-niece, Amanda Brown; great-great-niece, Carmendee Castro; and two great-great-nephews, Cobretti, and Christian Castro.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, Mina and Harry Radke, and a sister, Jeanice Brown.