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Mae E. Zemke

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

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CINCINNATI – Mae E. Zemke, 91, formerly of Sterling, died Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at Heartland of Madeira in Madeira, Ohio.

Mae was born May 6, 1921, in Simpson (Pope County), the daughter of Joseph Sr. and Eva (Cavitt) Rose. She married Elwood R. Zemke on July 27, 1939, in Clinton, Iowa. He preceded her in death on Sept. 22, 2001.

Mae was a homemaker and community activist/volunteer for most of the 75 years that she lived in the Sterling area. She was the first woman to be elected as a city councilwoman, and served for more than 17 years in that capacity. She was a past president of Community General Hospital Women’s Auxiliary. She served as a Pink Lady and Tag Lady, as well as a board member for the hospital. She was a board member of the Sterling-Rock Falls United Community Chest and past co-chairwoman of the United Way Fund Drive. She was past president of Sterling-Rock Falls Republican Women’s Club and Sterling Women’s Club. She was a member of the National Federation of Republican Women and the Governors Advisory Council. She was chairwoman of the Sterling Bicentennial Committee. She served as a board member for the Board of Education District 134, the YWCA, League of Women Voters club, Girl Scout Council, and American Diabetes Association. She served as an ambassador for the Sterling Chamber of Commerce. She was a major contributor of stories and photos of and about senior citizens and numerous human interest articles for more than a decade to the Sterling Daily Gazette Senior Echo publication. She was a longtime member of St. John Lutheran Church in Sterling.

Mae was the first woman recipient of the P.W. Dillon Award from the Sterling Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. She received the Sterling Woman of the Year Award, the Outstanding Government Service Leadership Award and the YWCA Community Service Award.

She is survived by one daughter, Marcia (Dale) VanDeVelde of Davisville, W.Va.; two sons, Jon (Anita) Zemke of Mokena and Douglas (Ellen) Zemke of Cincinnati; one daughter-in-law, Susan Zemke of Minneapolis; one sister, Carole Mayberry; one brother, Randy G. Rose; seven grandchildren, Craig (Elizabeth) Zemke, Jason (Monica) VanDeVelde, Shaun Zemke, Adam VanDeVelde, Steven (Emily) Zemke, David (Sharon) VanDeVelde and Ryan (Kerry) Zemke; three great-grandchildren, Douglas, Lillian and Charles Zemke; and several nieces and nephews.

Mae also was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Ronald Zemke; a daughter-in-law, Lois Kelsey Zemke; stepfather, Leonard Gern; one sister, Olive Crossley; three brothers, Joseph “Bud” Rose Jr., Robert J. “Jack” Rose and Dale W. Rose; and a grandson, Todd Eric VanDeVelde.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Schilling Funeral Home in Sterling. The service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, with the Rev. Leo Patterson officiating. Burial will be at Oak Knoll Memorial Park in Sterling.

A memorial has been established to CGH Medical Center, 100 E. LeFevre Road, Sterling, IL 61081.

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