John Budke

John was born on June 17, 1930, in Salina, Kansas, the son of John H. and Seraphine M. (Borst) Budke. He was born at St. John’s Hospital in Salina. He was a native Kansan and proud of that. He graduated in 1948 from Sacred Heart High School. He went to work at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in January 1950 as a lineman. He worked in various positions until retiring in 1995, with 45 years accredited service. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in January 1951. He was placed in Security Service as a cryptography operator, decoding enemy communications, which was cutting edge technology at that time. He served in Germany, & Tripoli, Libya, and San Antonio, Texas. John served in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict with an Honorable Discharge in January 1955. He returned to Salina and resumed work at Southwestern Bell. He married the former Mary Margaret (Margie) Pearson on December 1, 1956, at Sacred Heart Cathedral. They were blessed to celebrate 67 wedding anniversaries!

John was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Knights of Columbus, and Telephone Pioneers of America.

At age 3, John lost his father to cancer. His mother was left with 7 children to care for in the middle of the Depression. John learned quickly how to find ways to survive. He worked hard his whole life and always had a helping hand to those in need whether it was his mother and family, his church, or his community. He was proud of being ‘one of the guys’ that helped establish Babe Ruth Baseball in Salina. In an interview John once said..…”The Babe Ruth League got started to help a lot of kids get to play baseball instead of just a few kids. The only team for the older boys in Salina at that time was the American Legion traveling team. A lot of kids just couldn’t afford to play on that team because they had jobs. The Babe Ruth League was for anybody.” John coached multiple baseball and basketball teams giving kids rides to practice and helping them get to games. He was also Booster of the Year more than once at Sacred Heart for various big projects like getting a new gym floor, creating Sacred Heart Fan jackets and establishing the practice fields on the property. While working for Southwestern Bell, he was Secretary Treasurer of the Union and helped fellow workers speak up for their rights. He was never afraid to write letters to the editor of the Salina Journal if he thought there was a community issue that needed to be addressed. His greatest accomplishment however was caring for his wife and children, everything from going to the library to learn how to build the family home to supporting every single school activity and sport his children and grandchildren were involved in. Big John was a big part of many people’s lives.

John was preceded in death by his parents, John and Seraphine Budke, his brother, Bernard Budke, his sisters, Gertrude Martin, Margo Budke, Ann Platt, Rita Martin, and Jo Thielen. He was also preceded in death by his son, Kurt Budke and his Great Grandson, Vincent Felton. He is survived by his wife, Margie, three daughters, Michelle (Kurt) Ratzlaff, Sara (Mike) Haden, Christi (Jim) Rippy, and daughter-in-law Shelley (Balthazor) Budke. John and Margie have 9 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

There will be a visitation and Rosary at 6 pm, Sunday, April 21, at Ryan Mortuary, Fr. Ken Weber officiating.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Monday, April 22, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Fr. Fred Gatschet officiating.

Graveside service with Military Honors will follow the Mass and be held at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Salina, Kansas.

Memorials are suggested to be made to Salina Youth Baseball Fund.