Obituary: Deborah Lou Bathke (Zimmerman)

Deborah Lou Bathke (Zimmerman), of Sturgeon Bay, died at her Winter home in Neptune Beach, Florida, on February 18th, after a hard fought battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family and passed peacefully. Deb was 70 years old.

Deb was born and raised in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin, the daughter of Reinhold and Arlane (Voeks) Zimmerman. Deb graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1970 and attended Northeast Wisconsin Technical Institute in Green Bay. 

Deb married her adoring husband, Mark Bathke, in 1976. Together, they raised three children: Corrine Bylund (Dan Leonard) of Neptune Beach, Florida, Nicole Champeny of Sturgeon Bay, and Samuel Bathke (Courtney) of Redmond, Oregon. Those children gave her grandsons: Leif and Fox Champeny, Anderson Bathke, Talon Bylund, Daniel Leonard (IV), and Michael Leonard.

Before retiring to Florida in 2004, Deb and Mark owned and operated The Cherryland Motel and Cottages in Sturgeon Bay. In retirement, Deb continued to enjoy singing and playing music with her family. Her hobbies also included walking the beaches in search of shells and shark’s teeth, cruising through the Ocala National Forest with Mark in their ORV, and summering at Big Lake Campground in Algoma.

In addition to her husband, children and grandchildren, Deb is survived by: her sister, Lynn Corcoran of Sturgeon Bay; her brother, Gene Zimmerman (Sandy) of Forestville; brothers-in-law, Ken Bathke of New Castle, PA, and Edward Bathke of LaCrosse; mother-in law, Marge Witt of LaCrosse, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Preceding her in death were her parents, Reinhold and Arlane Zimmerman; brother, Bruce Zimmerman (infant); father-in-law, Edward Bathke; mother-in-law, Carol Bering; brothers-in-law, Gary Bathke, Kirk Bathke and Kevin Bathke; and, sister-in-law, Kathy Bakalars.

Interment and Memorial will be held at Bayside Cemetery in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on July 25, 2023. The time of memorial, and the time and place of a celebration of life, in Deb’s honor, will be announced later.