Orla M. Goerke, age 91, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, at a local care center. Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 26, 2019, at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Watertown. Rev. Steve Anderson will officiate. Music will be provided by Vicki Krucker as organist. The family is requested to meet at the church by 9:30 a.m. for a prayer service.
Visitation will be at the Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Sunday, August 25, 2019, from 1-3 p.m. and prior to services at the church on Monday.
Burial will be at Faith Lutheran Cemetery in Madison, MN. Honorary pallbearers will be Orla’s granddaughers, Jaime Barta and Nicole Gabriel, and her great-grandchildren. Active pallbearers will be Orla’s grandsons: Jesse, Chad, Barrett, Lance and Stacy Wittnebel and Nicholas Pillatzke.
Orla was born on May 6, 1928, in Marietta, MN, to Halvor and Hilda (Christopherson) Graff. She graduated from high school in 1946 and went on to attend St. Cloud College for teaching. Orla taught country school in Walter Township for three years and walked there every day.
Orla married Gerald Wittnebel and to this union, Brad, Blake and Blair were born. On December 9, 1973, Orla married Werner Goerke in Honolulu, HI. She worked as a substitute teacher and sold Avon. She was very active in her children’s activities, especially 4-H, where she volunteered as a 4-H leader. Orla also managed apartment complexes in Hawaii and California for a number of years.
Orla was very active in the church choir. She had a beautiful voice and shared it by singing for weddings and funerals. She was a hard worker and always ready to lend a hand. She loved to celebrate and host birthday parties and picnics and was known for her popcorn balls at Christmas. Orla adored spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Orla is survived by her husband, Werner Goerke of Watertown, SD; her children, Brad (Terry) Wittnebel of Marietta, MN, Blake (Jill) Wittnebel of Madison, MN, and Blair Wittnebel of Watertown, SD; her stepchildren: David (Leslie) Goerke of Gilbertsville, KY, Danny Goerke of Madison, MN, Dawn Goerke of Marshall, MN, and Dari Murphy of Minneapolis, MN; grandchildren: Jesse (Susy) Wittnebel, Chad (Cindy) Wittnebel, Jaime (Brandon) Barta, Barrett (Peggy) Wittnebel, Nicole (Christopher) Gabriel, Lance (Amy) Wittnebel, and Stacy (Maria) Wittnebel; step-grandchildren, Nicolas (Stephanie) Pillatzke, Jessica Pillatzke, Melissa Pillatzke, Walker Murphy, and Hunter Murphy; 25 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Doris Peterson of Canby, MN.
Orla is preceded in death by her parents, Halvor and Hilda Graff; her brother, Howard Graff; and her sister, Ardis Thorset.
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