Family members of the late Michael Gohlke surround the bench dedicated to his memory at Freedom Park,
near the Gatesville athletic fi elds, Sunday following a dedication ceremony conducted by Keep Gatesville
Beautiful. Gohlke, who passed away in January, was posthumously honored for his dedicated service to the
community. Known for his humble and quiet nature, Gohlke devoted hours of his free time to improve the
community through service with the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce, Keep Gatesville Beautiful and HEB’s
Feast of Sharing, among others.
KGB dedicates bench
Keep Gatesville Beautiful dedicated a bench in Freedom Park to the memory of a longtime community volunteer Sunday in Gatesville.
Michael Gohlke, 61, of Gatesville, passed Jan. 6, but his legacy of service to the community is alive and well.
Gohlke, who spent 45 years as an HEB partner, served on the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce Board, Keep Gatesville Beautiful, H-E-B Feast of Sharing, Coryell County Youth Fair and St. John’s Lutheran Council.
His active, but humble dedication to volunteering in the community came from a place of love, without the need for any fanfare.
“I met and got to know Michael at first through the Chamber,” Sabrina Foster, Chamber of Commerce president and Keep Gatesville Beautiful vice president, said. “It took me a while to get to know him, but I could tell very early on that Michael gave of his time and service because he had a soul generated by love.”
Gohlke was always eager to dive in and help better the community through beautification projects or civic events to help youth or the less fortunate.
“His impact was felt over this entire community, and we all live in a better place because of him,” Foster said.
The stone and wooden bench sits just inside Freedom Park near the Gatesville Civic Center and overlooks an athletic fi eld. Surrounded by landscaping, the bench is an appropriate place for quiet refl ection while watching area youth play softball or soccer.
Several members of Gohlke’s family were on-hand for the dedication ceremony. They echoed the sentiments about his servant’s heart and quiet, humble nature.
“He loved giving back to his community,” Cindy Bone, Gohlke’s sister, said. “He was a man of few words until you got to know him. He liked to be in the background.”
Bone said the family was honored that he was recognized, but that Gohlke would be happy that the bench is a factor in the beautification of Freedom Park. Gohlke’s sister-in-law, Donna Gohlke, said the bench is a beautiful tribute to his life.
The ceremony also gave some insight into some of Gohlke’s volunteering that the family had not known about previously.
“We didn’t know the depths of what he did,” Donna said. “He was quiet in service, a very humble person.”
Following the dedication, Keep Gatesville Beautiful, which is about to begin its third year, hosted a small reception in the Civic Center and recognized several other volunteers who have helped grow the organization.
“We couldn’t be an organization without you,” Joe Campbell, president, Keep Gatesville Beautiful, said. “Everybody matters at Keep Gatesville Beautiful.”
Past and present board members and volunteers from across the community were recognized with certifi - cates of appreciation.
Campbell also noted a $500 donation made to Keep Gatesville Beautiful from HEB in honor of Michael Gohlke.
Debbie Day, publisher of The Messenger, was presented a framed certificate in appreciation of her newspaper’s efforts to publicize Keep Gatesville Beautiful.
Keep Gatesville Beautiful is a volunteer-based organization that works to educate and engage residents to take responsibility for a cleaner, more beautiful community.