Gilbert Benjamin Bakke, 85, of Waterford, peacefully entered God’s kingdom on Oct. 28, 2022, where he joyfully reunited with his beloved wife, Lorraine.
Gil was born on Sept. 13, 1937, to Martin and Lydia (nee Wittenberger) Bakke. He graduated from Waterford Union High School in 1955 and received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1959. Gil was employed as a product design engineer for Rex Chainbelt, Inc. in Milwaukee. In 1968, after the untimely death of his uncle Benjamin Bakke, Gil was invited to manage Bakke Electric Co., Inc., an electrical contracting firm started by Ben Bakke in 1945. In 1969, Gil bought the company outright and owned it until 2000, when he sold it to Westphal Electric. Gil continued as manager for Westphal until 2006 when he retired from the electrical contracting business. In the 1980’s Gil bought Aber Cutters, Inc., a tool and die company in Waterford, which he also managed. He continued to work part-time to support client relations even after selling the business to his successor, manager, and friend Brian Stichman.
A lifelong resident of Waterford, Gil was known for his ability to understand complex issues and what was most important to a wide range of stakeholders. His emphasis on community service and his unique ability to guide people through contentious issues led him to years of service on the Waterford School Board, the Waterford Village Board, as well as serving as Village President and Racine County Supervisor. Gil also served on negotiating committees for union relations, and was a member of several organizations including National Electrical Contractor Association, Western Racine County Sewer District, the Tri County Contractor’s Association, and the board for Norway Lutheran Church. He also served in leadership positions for many of those organizations.
On Aug. 11, 1961, Gil made the decision that would alter the trajectory of his life and married the love of his life, Lorraine Frenz. Together they built two businesses and raised four children, Lila, Laura, James, and Rebekah. Gil would say that his most important legacy was his family. He loved and cherished his wife, and his children. He was a man of integrity and honor and taught his children to keep their word even when it hurt, and that wisdom and a relationship with God was to be pursued above all else. Gil’s hope was that he would conduct his life in such a manner that his children would be proud to wear his name; his children are privileged to call him Dad.
Gil is survived by his children and their spouses, Lila (Jim) Giantomasi, Laura (Joel) Barbieri, Jim (Brenda) Bakke, and Rebekah (Tom) Kowalski; his brother, Paul; grandchildren, Lori-Lynn (Ryan) Ratkovec, Vanessa, Ashley, Catherine, and Joline; seven nieces and nephews, other relatives, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Lorraine, and brothers David and Charles.
Visitation will be held Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, from 1 to 2:45 p.m., with services beginning at 3 p.m. at Norway Lutheran Church, 6321 Heg Park Rd, Wind Lake. Fellowship and a light dinner in the church parish hall will follow services. Private burial will be in Norway Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of floral expressions of sympathy donations to Norway Lutheran Church would be appreciated.
Mealy Funeral Home is serving the family. Well-wishers may visit www.mealyfuneralhome.com.