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Obituary: RATHKE, KLAUS

Klaus W. Rathke1934 ~ 2013On Tuesday, April 23rd, a long, happy, and very active life came to an end. Klaus W. Rathke, much loved husband, father, and dear friend to many, passed away in his sleep at our beloved long-term care facility 'THE SILVERADO'.Klaus was born to Walter and Friedel Rathke on January 30th, 1934 in Berlin, Germany. After their home was destroyed by bombs, he moved with his parents to Hannover, where he spent happy teenage years with many new friends. There, he developed great interest in Theater. His parents supported him in the decision to take acting lessons. He trained at "STAATLICHE HOCHSCHULE FUER MUSIK UND THEATER" and studied with Max Gaede, a well-known actor at the time. In 1952 the family decided to emigrate to the U.S. to live with his uncle Gerhard and aunt Martha, who had immigrated to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1928.Shortly after they arrived in S.L.C. Klaus discovered that this town had a GERMAN THEATER, led by a couple of professional actors from Germany. In this tiny theater in the lower avenues he spent 20 some years performing in every play they produced. That, of course, was just a hobby. Except when the German Theater traveled to New York, Iceland, and Germany, to play Manfred Hausmann's WANDTEPPICH in the Goethe Institute in N.Y. , then in Reykjavik (Iceland), Wuerzburg, Hamburg, Berlin, Osnabrueck and Ingolstadt. They spent one month traveling, with wife Annelie and three year old Nicholas tagging along. Then back to the fulltime 'real' job with Standard Optical, where he continued working for close to 30 years, and in the end was managing 13 optical stores. Klaus became almost a member of the Schubach family, especially with Steve and Aaron Schubach. Klaus was liked and respected by all employees, but also slightly feared, I was told, because he expected perfection from employees.Before Klaus became a US citizen, he was drafted into the US Army. After the basic training in Fort Ord, California, he returned home for 10 days, to marry his long time girlfriend Annelie Frerking. The wedding and quite elaborate reception took place at the beautiful, old Lyon House in Salt Lake City. A three-day honeymoon was a bit short, but the Homestead in Midway, Utah was just the right place, very quiet and enjoyable. The US Army was so very kind, sending Klaus to the beautiful, charming Resort town Bad Kissingen in Germany. Annelie finished her nurses training in Salt Lake City, then joined Klaus in Bad Kissingen to spend over a year in paradise, having a fabulous time with Klaus and his newly acquainted army friends and our host family. Because of his "special skills", speaking English, German and French, he was often asked to do a voice over for companies like Morton, Iomega, Kennecott and Ford Motor Company. Anything of interest became part of his already busy schedule. He joined the Collage of Humanities, became a member of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Vest Pocket Coalition, and The Downtown Alliance.Klaus's enthusiasm for travel took him with his wife and son to many interesting and fun places in the world. Driving through the eastern part of Europe seemed to be the best way to experience the beauty, the culture and the people in Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia and Austria. Rome was of interest also, but taking the night train to get there was a better way than driving. A trip to Israel, a gift from his mother in law, was an experience that was so beautiful he found difficult to describe to our friends.Throughout his life, his greatest interest was in music and theater. When Pioneer Memorial Theater opened with "Major Barbara", Klaus played next to then famous Kim Hunter and Rashad Kamal. After that a very small part in a terrific movie was offered to him. "A Midnight Clear" was quite a challenge, but he felt he could handle the very small part as a German soldier who was shot in the first part of the movie. Then, the true challenge happened!! The Hale Theater had so far been known to produce wonderful Musicals. For the coming season they decided to produce a serious play. In the greatest play ever written, "The Diary of Ann Frank" he became Otto Frank, the father of Ann Frank. Everyone in the play claimed, "that part made Klaus Rathke a true professional actor ".Klaus will be greatly missed by his wife, his son and daughter in law,several dear cousins, and many, many friends.Funeral services will be held Friday, May 3, at 12:00 noon at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2340 East 1300 South Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends may call prior to the funeral from 11:00 to 11:45 or the preceding evening from 6:00 8:00.Klaus' family will never forget the excellent care Klaus was given at The Silverado. Many thanks go to the loving and caring staff, especially Juan.Memories and condolences can be shared with the family at www.larkinmortuary.com.