Dr. Steven J. Bahrke, M.D., age 69, passed away Saturday morning, May 16, 2020, at his home with his loving wife Deb and family by his side after a long battle with the inherited disease CADASIL.
Steven John Bahrke was born on February 6, 1951, in Berlin, WI to Ervin Bahrke and Dorothy (Roeske) Bahrke. The youngest of 4 children growing up in Wautoma, WI, Steve, and his brother Jim, along with their friends, was known around town for their adventurous escapades and fun-loving practical jokes.
Steve attended Wautoma High School and found a love for science. He attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and majored in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. During a summer internship at his childhood Doctor’s family practice, he found a passion for medicine. Steve graduated from Oshkosh in 1973 and then married Kathy Hartnett (now Dodson) whom he was introduced to through his cousin Tica Hayes. They later divorced in 1995.
After graduating, Steve did research for the University of Wisconsin genetics lab and McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research while preparing for medical school. He graduated medical school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1979, and was then assigned to the public health hospital on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona to provide medical services for 5 months.
Steve matched for his medical residency in family medicine with the Fox Valley Family Medicine Residency Program in Appleton, WI. In residency, he gained a reputation as being a doctor who was always willing to go the extra mile for his patients and this continued throughout his medical practice tenure. During residency, he met Dr. Peter Sanderson and they agreed to start a practice together in Plover, WI.
Steve and his family moved to Plover where he and Peter then started Plover Family Practice in August of 1983. In 1990, Steve and his family adopted a third child, Michael, from Thailand at the age of 4.
In 2002, Steve married Deb Hopp in Hawaii and he grew his family to include step-children Eric and Ashley. He shared a love of travel with his wife Deb and they enjoyed visiting many different locations. Steve was known to be one who could fix anything, from fixing cars, finishing basements, or working on a school project; he always knew how to make something better. He had a love for golf and even started custom-making golf clubs for himself and others.
Additional achievements Steve was known for within his medical field included providing worksite medical care at Woodward Governor, Medical Director at Sentry Insurance and Director of BioLife Plasma Service in Plover. He was also honored to be selected to be an Aviation Medical Examiner for the FAA in our area. Steve was also instrumental in the design phase of the new Plover Family Practice building.
Steve continued his practice and loved building relationships with his patients and the community until his retirement in 2005. After retirement, Steve and Deb enjoyed winters in Hernando, FL and summers in Conover, WI at their Lake home. He loved to go to the movies with Deb and continued his hobbies of golfing with many doctors, friends, and family. Steve also enjoyed his fishing trips to Canada with his brother. He never stopped fixing things and being a person that everyone would go to if they had a question or needed help. He was loved by his family and friends and will be deeply missed by all.
Special thanks to Ascension Ministry Home Hospice for the care given during his final days. Especially for the kindness of his personal caregivers Wendy, LuAnn, Maria, and Donna.
Survivors include his wife of 18 years, Deb Hopp Bahrke; his Mother Dorothy Bahrke Pearsall of Wautoma, WI; his children, Erin (Jeremy) Updike of Northfield, MN, Scott Bahrke of Stevens Point, and Michael Bahrke of Stevens Point; his stepchildren Eric (Amy) Hopp of Plover, and Ashley (Jasen) Kubowski of Stevens Point; His grandchildren, Ryland, Ashlynn, & Tenley Updike and his step-grandchildren, Aalia & Eliana Hopp, and Hallie & Nolan Kubowski; His siblings, Barb Struzynski of Wautoma, WI, Ann Kemen of Dubuque, IA, and James Bahrke of Suamico, WI; His father and mother-in-law, Valerian & Delores Glodowski of Stevens Point, brother-in-laws Paul (Sue) Glodowski of Stevens Point & Joe Glodowski of Stevens Point, sister-in-law Gail (Mark) Mertely of Stevens Point; 13 nieces and nephews, 10 great-nieces and nephews, and five great-great nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death by Ervin Bahrke (Father), Charlie Pearsall (Stepfather), Ken Keman (Brother In Law), Tom Struzynski (Brother In Law), Michael Struzynski (Nephew), and Kevin Keman (Nephew).
With the current state of the world around COVID-19, a private family service has been held. A gathering to celebrate Steve’s life is pending for later this July.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established in Steve’s name at a later date.
The Pisarski Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family. Online condolences and information about the donations you’ve made in Steve’s honor may be sent by visiting www.pisarskifuneralhome.com.