David J. Gatzke, 63, of Ripon, WI, passed away Thursday, December 21, 2017, surrounded by his wife, Linda, his children, his grandchildren, and his rescue cats.

David J. Gatzke was born on April 28, 1954 in Ripon to Arden and Elizabeth (Betty) Gatzke. Dave attended Ripon schools where he participated in theater, cross country, and was the class president. After graduation, Dave enlisted in the United States Air Force to serve his country and pursue his interest in electronics. He spent nine years in the Air Force and served stateside during a portion of the Vietnam War, manning surface to air missile radar systems. During that time he met the love of his life, Linda. After honorably discharging from the military, Dave moved his family back to his hometown of Ripon. He enrolled in Ripon College and graduated with honors, earning a Bachelors of the Arts in Science Fiction Writing, Computer Science, and Philosophy.

Dave worked at Alliance Laundry Systems for nearly 30 years, starting in the lab and working his way up to Senior Electrical Designer. When he wasn't at work, he found enjoyment fixing up his 150 year old house, caring for stray cats, finding and tumbling rocks, star gazing, swimming in his pool, perfecting the "Gatzke Char" at his grill, and making his children and grandchildren laugh. Dave will always be remembered for his devotion to his family, his insatiable curiosity, and his endless dad jokes.

Dave is survived by his beloved wife of 37 years, Linda; brother Dan (Kay) Gatzke; daughter Tracy Cramer (Patrick); son Joe Ferrari (Kandi); son Jonathan Gatzke (Lelani); grandchildren: Jessica, Tyler, Emily, Matthew, Aidan, and Memphis; numerous cousins and nieces and nephews. Dave was preceded in death by his mother Betty Gatzke and his father Arden Gatzke.

Visitation will be on Thursday, December 28, 2017, from 1- 4pm with a funeral service to follow at 4:00 pm at the Butzin-Marchant Funeral Home, 515 Mayparty Dr., Ripon, WI 54971. Reverend Dr. Kevin Mundell will be officiating. Following the service, friends and family are invited to a celebration of Dave’s life at the Ripon VFW from 5:30-7:30pm. We invite everyone to wear Hawaiian print in memory of David’s fondness for the bright and joyful Aloha shirts.

Interment, with Military Honors, to follow on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 11:00 am at Garden of Cross Cemetery in Ripon. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dave's honor can be made to one of the organizations that he appreciated: local animal shelters; Folds of Honor; or Wounded Warriors.

Please visit www.butzinmarchant.com to send online condolences.