Beatrice “Bea” (Brietzke) Schalk, 99, of Hawks passed away Mother’s Day May 14, 2023, after a brief illness.
The youngest daughter of Edgar and Eleanor (Paull) Rambadt, Beatrice was born August 2, 1923, on the Rambadt family farm in Belknap Township, 6 miles southwest of Rogers City.
She entered the Kingdom of God through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism August 26, 1923, at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Belknap.
At a young age, her family moved to Rogers City where her father was the manager of Bradley Farms, a dairy operation owned by Michigan Limestone Company president and Bradley Transportation Line owner, Carl D. Bradley. Following the death of Mr. Bradley in 1928, the Rambadt family returned to their farm in Belknap Township where Beatrice attended public and parochial schools. Beatrice was instructed in the Christian faith and renewed her baptismal vow through the Rite of Confirmation by Pastor Louis Heinecke May 24, 1936, at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Belknap. Her memory verse was Psalm 37 Verse 4; “Delight thyself in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” In the early 1930s Beatrice took piano lessons from Pastor Heinecke’s wife while attending St. Michael Lutheran School. In 1936 the Heinecke’s moved to Utica which left St. Michael Parish without a pastor or an organist. So, at the age of 12, Bea became the church organist and continued to play at several Lutheran churches in the area for over 86 years. Because there were no school buses in those days, Beatrice lived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Sibley in Rogers City and worked for room and board while attending Rogers City High School where she graduated in June 1941. For the remainder of 1941. She worked for Dr. Moffett at the County Health Department.
On January 1, 1942, she was employed by Michigan Limestone Company in the accounting department and later that year, she was promoted to secretary for Mr. John Kinville who was the controller for the company.
On August 1, 1943, Beatrice and Henry Brietzke were married at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Belknap with the Rev. Edwin C. Weber performing the ceremony, and Henry’s father, the Rev. H.F. Brietzke delivered the sermon.
They lived on the Brietzke family farm just west of Hawks where Henry engaged in farming and raising dairy cattle.
Their marriage was blessed with four sons, Robert, Richard, David and William. In the spring of 1955, Henry became employed by the Bradley Transportation Line out of Rogers City aboard the Str. T.W. Robinson and continued sailing on the Bradley ships for the next 23 years, retiring in 1978.
With the help of her sons, Bea continued to raise Black Angus beef cattle on the farm after Henry went sailing. In 1970, Bea was appointed Bismarck Township clerk and held that position for the next 23 years.
She was also member of the Bismarck Township school board during construction of the new Hawks Elementary School.
Bea also enjoyed traveling to and attending football and basketball games while her boys were participating in high school athletics, and also later when her son Robert was head football coach for Rogers City High School.
Bea was an avid Detroit Tigers’ fan and loved watching the games.
She was a wonderful cook, and many delicious meals were served at the Brietzke household for birthdays, holidays, and other occasions. During the winter months when Henry would be home after the end of another shipping season, their weekends were usually busy entertaining friends and relatives with plenty of card playing, good food, and fellowship. Bea enjoyed gardening in the summer and canning her fruits and vegetables and caring for her flowers year around.
She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Hawks, where she was the church organist until the age of 98 years. She was president of its Ladies Aid Society for many years. She served as secretary of the Golden Agers Group and was member of the Senior Bowling League.
Her husband Henry preceded her in death May 4, 1988, after 44 years of marriage together.
Bea later married Ralph Schalk December 22, 1990, at Faith Lutheran Church in Hawks and they maintained their home on the farm west of Hawks. They also enjoyed going to Ralph’s home at Lake Nettie for fishing and “vacationing” as they liked to call it. They also were fond of traveling to Lake Nipissing in Ontario on fishing trips for several summers and thoroughly enjoyed a cruise to Alaska in 1995.
Ralph preceded her in death June 5, 2010. She was also preceded in death by her mother, Eleanor Rambadt in 1971; her father, Edgar Rambadt in 1978; a son, William “Bill” Brietzke in 2005; her only sibling, Lucille Schalk in 2014; and a daughter-in-law, Andrea Brietzke in 2015.
Bea is survived by her three sons and their spouses, Robert and Janet Brietzke of Rogers City, Richard and Ruth Ann Brietzke of Manitou Beach, and David and Jennine Dankert-Brietzke of Saginaw; a daughter-in-law, Gwen (Brietzke) Stypick of Alpena; 11 grandchildren,Todd, Scott, Justin, Nicholas, James, Casey and Alec Brietzke; Alison Resor, Kristen Cordell, Haley VanDewater and Megan MacKenzie; and 16 great-grandchildren. Also survived by Ralph’s children, Richard (Barbara) Schalk and Patti (Tom) Marshall-Doane.
Funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday May 20, at Faith Lutheran Church in Hawks with the Rev. Dr. Jack Ferguson officiating with burial to follow in Faith Lutheran Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family at the church Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue Saturday at 10 a.m. until time of service.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to Faith Lutheran Church.