Anthony (Tony) Bemke passed away peacefully with his family at his side on February 5, 2024.
Tony is survived by his three daughters Lori (Alan) Hucke of Stevens Point; Dawn (Kevin) Perlak of Alexandria, VA; and Brenda (David) Levin of Charlotte, five grandchildren: Ashley Hucke (Jack Anderberg) of Rogers, Minn., Jared (Abby) Hucke of Oshkosh, Wis.; Alyxandra (Chris) Bukovec of Alexandria, VA; Drew Levin of Charlotte, NC, and Jenna Levin, also of Charlotte, NC, and five great-grandchildren: Rylan and Henry Anderberg, William Hucke, Paxton and Haven Bukovec.
Tony was preceded in death by his loving wife, Rita, two half-sisters Jo Bempke and Sue Bempke, brother August Bemke, and sister Agnes Groshek.
Tony was born on September 12, 1935, to the late August and Doris (Gerszewski) Bemke in Stevens Point. He graduated from P.J. Jacobs High School, where he excelled in wrestling, pinning many unsuspecting opponents and winning numerous awards. He went on to attend UWSP, where he majored in biology.
During that time, he “decided to accept Uncle Sam’s invitation,” and joined the U.S. Army, where he served from 1958-1962. Wrestling continued to be his passion, but he also added boxing to his list of athletic endeavors. He won many boxing matches and enjoyed telling stories about this time in the army, which also allowed him to experience adventures in Alaska. After his discharge from the army, Tony decided to “make one of the most important decisions of his life,” in 1963. He applied for and became a police officer, where he served the city of Stevens Point for 30 years, where he retired in 1990 as a lieutenant.
Tony married the love of his life, Rita (née Sokolowski) Bemke on June 18, 1966, in Stevens Point. This is where they raised their family in the home he was proud to build, where they lived for the next 57 years. He continued to utilize his carpentry skills and spent so much time in his backyard shed, building numerous items such as birdhouses, chests and bookshelves. He was so proud to sell these items for many years at Art in the Park.
Besides his love of woodworking, Tony raised his daughters to appreciate adventures such as camping, and traveling, which involved many car trips around the country in the family’s Chevy. He loved trips to the casino with his wife, Rita, bird watching, and caring for his yard and garden. When he wasn’t outside, you could find Tony cheering on his Packers or Brewers. He also loved to play golf. According to his brother Wally, “he always insisted on keeping score. He never lost a game, and it was obvious he loved nature, spending so much time looking for his ball in the woods and water.”
Tony’s (Tony the Tiger) family would like to thank the incredible staff at The Lodge at Whispering Pines and Whispering Pines Assisted Living Facility for their excellent care, always going above and beyond for our dad. We appreciate that you all came to love his quirky, unique, and dry sense of humor, along with guiding him with patience and respect. Thank you, also, to Heartland Hospice for the comfort and care you brought to Tony and his family.
A private family service and burial will take place, per Tony’s wishes, at a later date.
We love you more Dad, and are so grateful that your mind is finally at rest.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.