Clinton Gaulke Obituary

Clinton F. Gaulke
Clinton F. Gaulke

July 31, 1933 - July 23, 2020
Born in Wright County, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Clinton “Clint” Fay Gaulke, passed away peacefully in his home on July 23, 2020, 8 days shy of his 87th birthday. Clint was born at home in Wright County on July 31, 1933 to Lewis and Erdene (Starr) Gaulke. He grew up in Clarion, Iowa and joined the Air Force right out of high school. He served 4 years during the Korean War, and fittingly, was a bartender in the officer’s club in Reykjavic, Iceland! He returned home and married JoAnn Schlunz of Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1957. He graduated from Drake University and went on to have a business career and retired from General Growth Properties.

Clint made friends everywhere he went, and if you did right by him in business you had a loyal customer for life. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting walking friends at Merle Hay Mall; lunching at Jesse's Embers with his General Growth friends; having dinner parties and taking trips with close friends, and his time with his Kiwanis buddies. He reveled in listening to JoAnn play the piano and loved being a dad and a granddaddy.

Clint playfully gave nicknames to every child. He espoused the benefits of hard work, education and saving money, as well as the importance of respecting yourself and others. He listened intently and remembered details about everyone. He welcomed friends to his home with a smile, a firm hand shake and ensured they left with a full (sometimes stuffed) stomach. Clint relished the simple pleasures of a half stick of doublemint gum, freshly popped popcorn, chocolate shakes and dancing.

Clint frequently sent his daughters and grandchildren letters typed on tiny “from the desk of Clint Gaulke” notepad paper and article clippings offering his sage advice. The recipients of these letters often found them peculiar (if not slightly annoying), but realized this was his way of saying “I love you and I’m thinking of you.” And we love him, and will always be thinking of him.

Clint is survived by his wife of 63 years, JoAnn; 2 daughters Elizabeth Willem (Brian), and Laura Abbott; grandchildren Kathleen Willem (Mitch Smith), Megan Christensen (Corey), Madisen Abbott, David Willem, and Maxwell Abbott; his brother Donald Gaulke (Norma), and sister Donna Jean Gaulke. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Eugene Gaulke (Betty).

A private family burial service will be held at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. We hope to hold a party to celebrate Clint’s life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Iowa Heart Center Foundation, 5880 University Ave, Suite 101, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266.

Arrangements by Iles Westover Chapel




Graveside Service


Iowa Heart Foundation
5880 University Avenue Suite 101
West Des Moines, IA 50266
The Iowa Heart Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to serving Iowans and their communities.