Wanda Lou Wilkes Lemke was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother who will be dearly missed. She was born in Hurst Springs, Texas, on March 18, 1929. She was a graduate of Lorena High School and Central City Commercial College in Waco, with further study at Louisiana Tech. She was baptized at the First Baptist Church of Hewitt, Texas. She married Calvin Lemke in 1948 after he returned from the war. They initially lived in Waco, where she worked at Pioneer Savings and Loan for 10 years. They moved to Ruston, Louisiana in 1956, when her husband accepted a teaching position at Louisiana Tech. She joined the staff of the Marbury Companies in 1959, where she served for 48 years. She rose through the ranks of that company until she became Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of Banker’s Life of Louisiana and the Southern States General Agency. Calvin and Wanda served faithfully at Temple Baptist Church for decades, serving together as directors of the college department. Wanda later taught the adult women’s Hope Sunday School class for many years. She served the Lord and the church in a variety of roles, including church secretary, Church Training Director, President of the Women’s Missionary Union, and as a member of a committee tasked with selling the former location of Temple Baptist Church properties to help facilitate the move to its present campus. She was a devout Christian, and her prayers and Bible teaching were always thoughtful and meaningful.
In civic life, she served as President of the Ruston Quota Club International, and later served on the Board of Directors of the Ruston & Lincoln Parish Chamber of Commerce. In 1990 she became the first female President of the Chamber of Commerce. Her hobbies included painting, gardening, traveling with family, and garage sales. She was a faithful friend, sending birthday, anniversary, get well, and sympathy cards to friends regularly. Her friends always knew who had sent the card because of her exquisite handwriting. She was known for her sense of humor and her insightful mind. Her Sunday School class recently celebrated her 94th birthday with her at the church. She died at her home in Ruston on June 6, 2023, after a brief illness.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Jewell Wilkes, her loving stepfather Homer Mills, and by her husband of 65 years, Calvin. She is survived by her son Dr. Steve Lemke and his wife Carol of Mansfield, Texas; by her grandson Dr. Austin Lemke and his wife Ashton of San Antonio, Texas, and by her first great-grandson expected in November. She is also survived by special cousins Betty Smith and Bobbie Crow of Waco and other extended family. She was beloved by her family, co-workers, and friends. The family expresses appreciation to her caregivers for their love and help over the last few years.
Funeral Services, for Wanda Lou Wilkes Lemke, age 94, of Ruston, LA will be held at Temple Baptist Church Chapel, on Friday, June 9, 2023, at 2:30 P.M. Officiating will be Dr. Reggie Bridges and Rev. Dale Oden, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Homes of Ruston. Visitation will be prior to the service, at Temple Baptist Church Chapel, from 1:30 – 2:30 P.M. Graveside Service will be Saturday, June 10, 2023, 1:00 P.M., at Rosemound Cemetery in Waco, TX.
Planned Memorials may be made to Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, 7200 Desiard Street, Monroe, LA 71203 or New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 3939 Gentilly Blvd. New Orleans, LA, 70126.