Schulke, Charles

SCHULKE, Charles Patrick

March 17, 1930 - Jan. 24, 2023

Charles Patrick Schulke or simply "Pat" as he was affectionately known, entered the eternal gates of life on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023, surrounded by his loving wife of 74 years, Phyllis Rae Rutherford Schulke, and their six children, passing peacefully, after a brief illness. Born on St. Patrick's Day, in the year 1930, Pat was the son of the late Charles W. and Edith Throp Schulke. He was reared and educated in Dayton, Ohio, graduating from Chaminade High School before proudly serving his country in the United States Navy. In addition to his loving wife, Pat is survived by their 6 devoted children and their spouses; Timothy of Chattanooga, TN, Kevin and Jane of Vero Beach, FL, Terry and Karen of Long Island, NY, Kathleen Schulke of Vero Beach, FL, Colleen and Terry Haggar of Minnetonka, MN, and Sean and April of Collierville, TN, 13 adoring grandchildren; Kirsten and Matt Gentry, Lauren and Josh Mathews, Ryan and Sandy Schulke, Michael and Jeanette Schulke, Brendan and Mary Schulke, Ashley and Josh Miller, Alexandra and Justin Rojesky, Kimberly and Tim Ford, and Collin, Emily, Carter, Chase, and Carson Schulke, and 13 great-grandchildren. Pat and Phyllis relocated to Vero Beach, FL, in 1990 and made the Sunshine State their home. Over his storied career, Pat spent the previous 43 years as an executive in the food industry, in a variety of leadership roles with 8 different US Retailers and Wholesalers, headquartered in 7 states. A much-admired leader, Pat excelled in empowering teams that consistently delivered strong financial results while providing productive career paths for thousands of his valued employees. Those who knew him best will always remember his professional personality - always a positive attitude and grounded in the respect he showed every human being. Pat was always a gentleman! Kicking off his career stocking shelves in the grocery store, he tirelessly worked his way up the 'old fashioned way' to become a top performer for Kroger, America's largest supermarket chain, that awarded him a National Association of Food Chains Scholarship to attend Michigan State University. A results-oriented business leader and powerful motivator of people, Pat earned an industry reputation as a Retail Operations guru which made him a highly sought-after recruiting target. His climb of the corporate ladder led him to executive roles with great Retail Food Companies like Kroger, Allied Supermarkets, King Kullen, Grand Union, P&C, Hills and Weingarten. Pat then became the President and CEO of Red Owl Stores in Minneapolis, where he and his partners acquired the Retailer/Distributor after successfully maneuvering the company out of Chapter 11. Giving back to the industry was something Pat was passionate about, so he gladly served in leadership and committee roles with organizations including NGA and FMI, as well as many different State Grocer Associations. After retiring from the Food Industry in 1991, Pat humbly began the next phase of life's journey, in the service of God and the Catholic Church. He joined Holy Cross Parish in Vero Beach, FL, simply to support his Pastors - Father O'Hare, and his successor, Father Murphy - in accomplishing their Parish Missions. For 25+ years, Pat passionately served Holy Cross and his extended parishioner family, in multiple capacities, as - Coordinator of Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers - Chair of the Finance Council - Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign - and as a Volunteer Director of Liturgy - along with whatever else he could do to serve the congregation. Pat was 'all in', and this was his joy! He also served on the Board of Care Net. Phyllis and her family will be celebrating Pat's life and loving spirit with a Mass at Saint Sebastian Church in Sebastian, FL, on Friday, February 3rd at 11:00AM. We welcome all of Pat and Phyllis' friends to join us. In lieu of Flowers, Pat and his family request donations be made to support one of the organizations he felt strongly about, and donated himself: Tunnel to Towers Foundation Care Net Arrangements by Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory, Vero Beach, FL. A guestbook is available at

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