JEFFERSON — Clarence “Charlie” Yelk died peacefully in his sleep on Monday, June 3, 2019, at the age of 68, in Janesville, after a long battle with cancer.
He was born in Jefferson, the son of Gladys and Clarence Yelk.
Charlie was raised at a very young age by his foster parents, Elsie and Floyd Berger. He loved his two foster sisters, Betty Berger (Powers) and Velma Berger (Meng), very much, except when Betty would put little girl dresses on him and pull him in a wagon around the block.
Charlie served in the United States Army in the early ’70s and later was honorably discharged.
Charlie enjoyed putting together model cars and airplanes when he was a young boy. When he got in his early teens, he built himself a mini bike, and that’s when he started liking “The faster the better!”
He always was interested in cars, and started working on cars in the small barn that his foster Dad let him make into a mechanic’s shop, where his true love of working on cars, mechanically and doing body work, began. And soon after, he owned and operated his own body shop in Lake Mills.
Charlie then started racing cars in his late teens and never stopped! His racing was his life! Some say Charlie ate and breathed racing!
He also loved his cats.
Charlie loved his extended foster family of brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. He loved giving them rides on his mini-bike, and teaching the younger ones how to fly a kite, and enjoyed playing the good old outside games like football in the cow pastures and a nightly game of moon light, star light that kids played back then.
He always loved the holidays with them all. He always was considered real family to every one of them, and was treated as such!
Charlie started racing in his late teens and never stopped! Racing was his life…eating and sleeping racing. He had made numerous contacts and friends through the sport he loved so much that somehow no matter where he went, someone would know him.
After he stopped driving, he became the team owner at Yelk Motorsports. Various drivers would go on to win championships in his race cars at Madison International Speedway, Slinger Super Speedway and Jefferson Speedway. His race team was just like family to him.
Charlie is survived by his mother, Gladys Yelk; his foster family, Terry Ertl, Dan Powers (Doreen), Connie Blasing (Michael), Renee Peters (Greg), Tim Powers (Margaret), Julie Weilbaucher (Gary), Sherry Provenzano (Joe) and Bradley Meng (Sue); his cousins, Greg and Jeff Endl, and Lisa Kuehl Endl; his very special giving friend, caretaker, son like, Jason (Angel) Erickson and family; his racing team, Derek Rehm and Nick Vosburg; friend, Billie Slavens; caregiver, Jill Deluna; and many more close friends and racing family!
He was preceded in death by his girlfriend, Mary; his father, Clarence Yelk; his foster parents, Elsie and Floyd Berger; foster sisters, Betty Powers and Velma Meng; his aunt and uncle, Kate and Jim Endl.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, June 11, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Schneider-Michaelis Funeral Home in Jefferson.
A celebration of Charlie’s life will be at a later date.
Visit www.schneidermichaelisfuneralhome.com to leave a condolence or light a candle in his memory.