Sunset Hills Memorial Park & Funeral Home

1215 145Th Place Se, Bellevue, WA


A. "Bill" William Kratzke

September 17, 1923August 9, 2019

Dr. Albert William (“Bill”) Kratzke

September 17, 1923 – August 09, 2019

Bill was born in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, to Albert Carl Kratzke and Hulda Sophie Wilhelmina Kratzke [nee Hoefener]

Albert William (“Bill”) was born on September 17, 1923, in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, and died on August 9, 2019, in Edmonds, Washington. He was the first son of the Reverend A. C. Kratzke, a Lutheran minister, and his wife, Hulda. Baptized into the church and then confirmed by his father on June 21, 1936, Bill grew up in rural Canada and then similarly rural Minnesota. Bill excelled in school, skipping two grades. After graduation from high school in 1940, Bill entered Washington University in St. Louis.

Not long after he enrolled in college, Bill found himself enlisted in the US Army in the war against Hitler. Fighting with the 14th Armored Division, he had become a tank commander by the end of the conflict and participated in such episodes as the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the infamous complex of Dachau concentration camps. Despite his bravery and having suffered multiple wounds, he avoided for years conversations about the war’s horrors.

After his time in Europe, Bill returned to Minnesota and college life. At the University of Minnesota, he met his future lifelong love, Ruth Volkert, at a Gamma Delta meeting where Ruth was playing the piano. (He claimed that the side of the piano bench was the only available seat in the room.) Bill and Ruth married, and they were together for 68 years, until her death in 2016. Ruth, a master organist/pianist, opened Bill’s ears to a variety of music, from Broadway to Seattle Opera’s Ring Cycle. “She grounded me,” he said, “in the best possible sense.”

The whole of Bill’s life was one marked by social interactions, professional achievement, and dedication to his faith. On a social level, he loved to participate in and follow sports (he even played semi-pro “Sunday Baseball” after the war as one of his team’s only two paid players). He enthusiastically supported the sports teams of Oregon State University, a place where he earned his Ph.D. In Mathematics. Along the way, Bill and Ruth negotiated the day-to-day challenges of raising five children. Even at the end of his long and blessed life, Bill remained alert and interested in world events until hours before he passed. He was always good for a thoughtful discussion. In his career, Bill was a recognized, published mathematician. He worked on classified projects for Boeing, enjoying many of his years at the company’s theoretical group called the Boeing Scientific Research Labs. He chuckled that sometimes his “best work had occurred when the immediate boss had no clue what [he] was up to.” Ultimately, he worked for Boeing for 37 years. Most of all, though, Bill was a devout Lutheran, serving his church through governance and education. He also assisted his wife on many occasions in her music ministry.

Bill was predeceased by his wife, Ruth; sister Evelyn May Kratzke; and brothers Robert Frank Kratzke and Paul Theodore Martin Kratzke. Bill’s survivors are son William Paul (of Memphis, TN) and his wife, Marina, and her son, Dmitriy, and his children, Andrew (wife Geraldina, child Luke) and Rachel; daughter Mary Elisabeth Fagerstrom (of Edmonds, WA) and her husband, David, and their children, Emily (husband Piotr), Erik, Jessica (husband Matt), and Karl; son Thomas Martin (of Oak Hill, VA) and his wife, Tran, and their children, Lan-Thach (husband George, their children Drakeson and Millicent), Lien-Thanh (husband Bill), and Thal (wife Julie); son Stephen John (of Edmonds, WA) and his wife, Myla, and their children, Nicholas and Madison; and son Peter James (of Loveland, CO) and his wife, Jeraldine.

A memorial service will be held on September 7, 2019, at 2:00 pm at Christ the King Lutheran Church. (3730 148th Ave. S.E. Bellevue, WA 98006). In lieu of flowers, suggested recipients of memorial gifts are Christ the King Lutheran Church (at the above address) and Lutheran Ministry Services (LMS), at 7040 36th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115. LMS is an agency that provides chaplain and lay volunteer visitation services to people in hospitals, nursing homes, care facilities, prisons, and so forth.


7 September

Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Christ the King Lutheran Church

3730 148th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA 98006


A. "Bill" William Kratzke

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Joan Catoni Conlon

August 18, 2019

Ruth and I were in Graduate School in Music together. She shone with pride when she spoke of the accomplishments of her husband Bill, and also those of her five children. She personified energy, physical energy, spiritual intensity, and love for her husband and family. We always looked forward to Bill's and Ruth's Christmas cards, watching their children grow in the love Ruth and Bill bestowed upon them. We were fortunate to have known Ruth and Bill.

We wish you strength at this time.
Joan and Frank Conlon