Hjalmar 'Jelly' Roelke

Hjalmar L. “Jelly” Roelke, of Fort Atkinson, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison after suffering a stroke.

Jelly was born on June 27, 1936, and raised in Madison.

At the age of 17 he joined the U.S. Marines and served very proudly for four years. He credited his mother for encouraging him to join the service.

In 1986, he married the love of his life, Jan. They met and made a life together living on the beach of Lake Waubesa. When Jel retired in 2002, they moved to Fort Atkinson.

After the service, Jel went to work at UW Provisions as a meat cutter. He retired from UW Provisions after 34 years of dedication.

Jelly moved on to another career with the State of Wisconsin Highway Department where he worked until he fully retired. He also was a lifetime member of the American Legion.

Jelly is survived by his wife, Jeanette “Jan” Roelke; brother, Marcus (Bev) of Waunakee; sister, Sharon Martinson of Madison; two granddaughters, Audrianne Rogers of Monona and Arielle (Ivan) Villalta of Ponachatula, La.; seven great-grandchildren, Caidynce, Hayden, Addy, Luke, Bella, Ava and baby Ivan; and many nieces and nephews.

He also is survived by his “adopted” family: daughter, Jean McDermott; grandkids, Dayna Roberts and Tanner McDermott (Sam Smith); and great-grandson, Bentley McDermott, all of Fort Atkinson.

“Boompa” loved and adored all his grandkids, and loved to entertain them with his silly antics.

Jelly was preceded in death by his parents, Norman and Helen; brothers, Clifford and David; and his daughter, Becky Gerstad.

In life, Jelly loved to play baseball and played on many teams. He also loved to watch the Badgers, Packers and Cubs games.

Jel enjoyed boating and just simply being on the water. He loved having a good time with his family and friends.

There will be a celebration of life at Jelly’s home, Apache Court, Fort Atkinson, from 1 until 5 p.m. with a short military service at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1.

In the words of Jel: “In Heaven there is no beer, that is why he drank it here.” The End.

Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Care in Monona is assisting with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

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