Lawrence Hertzke, 96, passed away Saturday, March 28, 2020 at Windsong Memory Care at Northridge. He was born February 24, 1924 in Lakota, Iowa to Adolph and Margaret Hertzke. His family moved to Boulder, CO when Lawrence was five years old and to Greeley in 1939. He graduated from Greeley High in 1941 and attended Colorado State College, Greeley for two years. During his school years, he was active in music; playing harmonica and violin and singing in choir, as well as 4-H, church and the Luther League. He worked for his father on the farm as well as any odd job he could find. Lawrence said that one of the biggest impacts of his life was in 1943 when he went to the feed store with his father because they were unable to pay off their bill as the harvest was poor. The feed store owner told his dad, “Adolph, don’t worry about this money you owe me. I trust you and know you will pay me when you can.” Lawrence said that really taught him to have faith in people and he set his mind to help others having hard times. He lived this principle for the rest of his life.
The Lutheran Church was always the cornerstone of his life. He has been a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church since 1939 and served on Church Council and Financial Secretary. He served on the Sky Ranch Lutheran Bible Camp Board. Luther League was one of Lawrence’s favorite activities as a young man and it was there that he met the life of his life, Betty June Brunz. They were married at Our Savior’s on November 30, 1947 and were blessed with two children; Rick in 1950 and Sherry in 1951. Lawrence and Betty enjoyed 68 years together until her death in 2016. They traveled to 49 of the 50 states, as well as most of Europe. They were due to leave for China when 9/11 happened but were able to make the trip several months later.
In 1946, Lawrence formed a partnership for general farming with his brother, Luverne and their father. They started milking cows in 1949 and by 1958 Lawrence and Luverne farmed over 160 acres and milked over 80 cows. In 1960, he was named Weld County’s Young Farmer of the Year. In 1977, brother Luverne retired and the dairy became a partnership with his son, Rick. Hertzke Holsteins built a new dairy west of Greeley on the former P.O.W. camp. Lawrence was an astute businessman and a strong advocate for the dairy industry. He was selected to serve as a delegate to the American Dairy Association (ADA) in 1955 and later served on local boards of the ADA and National Dairy Council as well as the National ADA executive board, representing the Western U.S. Lawrence was elected to the Denver Milk Producer’s board in 1965 and helped form the Mountain Empire Dairyman’s Association (MEDA). He served on the MEDA board until he retired in 1982. He served on the National Milk Producer’s Federation board through the 60’s and 70’s and in 1994 was awarded in Washington D.C. with Honorary Director for Life. In the late 70’s the Western Dairyman’s Co-op was formed and he served as Vice President from 1978 to 1982. Lawrence served on the Advisory Committee for the Agricultural Science Department at CSU for 15 years. He served on Local and State Colorado Farm Bureau boards and committees and numerous committees and boards of Colorado Holstein Association and the National Holstein Association.
Lawrence was very involved in Greeley Community activities. He was a 4-H leader of Hazelton 4-H Club for 16 years and served on the 4-H Executive Council of Weld County. He was on the committee to form The Western Hills Fire Protection District, serving on their Board for five years. Lawrence was on the Chamber of Commerce board for two years, Colorado Farm Show-Dairy Committee, First National Bank/IntraWest Bank Boards for 10 years and Northern Colorado Agricultural Credit Corporation Board for five years. Lawrence’s vision and knowledge of water led to his commitment to the Greeley & Loveland Irrigation Company as board member for 29 years, SevenLakes Reservoir Irrigation Company Board for 30 years and President for 12 years, and Grapevine Lateral Ditch Company Board. Lawrence was on the Advisory Committee for the formation of AIMS Community College. He served as Chairman of United Way Campaign for rural Greeley in 1968. He helped raise funds to move and reconstruct Hazelton School to become the Poudre Learning Center. The Greeley Center for Independence named one of its homes at Stephens Farm “Hertzke House” for Lawrence.
Lawrence was always active. He bowled for 35 years with his Church team and he loved camping, fishing and spending time in the mountains, as well as many spectator sports. He was an avid Colorado Rockies fan, but his favorite spectator sport was anything his kids, grandkids or great-grandkids were involved in. No matter how busy he was, he managed to be at the kids’ games. His family was the most important group of people in his life and he always supported each of them in everything they did.
Lawrence is survived by his children; Rick (Kathie) and Sherry (Walt) Jarrell, grandsons; Jeff (Jackie), Brad (Jessi) and Greg Hertzke, granddaughter, Kari Quammen, great-grandchildren; Gabbie, Nolan and Ryleigh Hertzke and Evan Quammen, brother, Gene (Mary) Hertzke, brothers-in-law; Allen (Jan) Brunz and Larry (Linda) Brunz, sister-in-law, MaryAnn Sloan as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded by his parents, wife Betty, brother and sister-in-law, Luverne and Annie Hertzke, sister and brother-in-law, Vivian and Chuck Weishaupt, sisters-in-law and husbands, Doris and Ray Saxton and Lois and Blain Souther, and brother-in-law, Ken Sloan.
A Life Celebration will be held at a future date. Family interment at Linn Grove Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be made to the “Alzheimer’s Association” or “Our Savior’s Lutheran Church” in care of Adamson, 2000 47th Ave., Greeley, CO 80634. Friends may leave condolences at AdamsonCares.com.
The family extends special thanks to all of Lawrence’s nurturing family of caregivers at Windsong at Northridge and Pathways Hospice.