Bob “Willard” Henke Death, Obituary – In Columbus, Nebraska, on July 4, “Bob” J. Henke was brought into the world by his parents, Henry B. and Olga A. (Wurdeman) Henke. Bob had his elementary through eighth grade education at Christ Lutheran School. He then continued his education at Kramer High School and graduated in 1947. After receiving his diploma, he continued his education by enrolling in the advanced business program at the Omaha Commercial Extension School of Commerce.
After completing the coursework for a program that was supposed to take two years in just one, he started working at Ted’s Pen and Card Shop, where he sold greeting cards, billfolds, pens, and pencils. He was drafted into the United States Army in the year 1951 and served in Germany until the year 1953. When he got back to Omaha, he had every intention of going back to work at Ted’s, but he was informed that there was no longer a place for him there.
Ted had a meeting with the CEO of Mutual of Omaha as well as the CEO of another insurance business. Following his interview with the organization, Bob made the decision to accept a position with Mutual of Omaha and remained employed there for the next 18 years. In order to fill open managerial positions, Physicians Mutual was looking for qualified candidates with previous managerial experience.
He was willing to work hard for another 18 years after accepting that position. During this time, he was the editor of the Physicians Mutual magazine, which had a readership of approximately 1,500 individuals at the time. When he was informed of his promotion to the position of Senior Vice President and Secretary of the company, he experienced feelings of both humility and honor. When they predicted that he would succeed in business and writing, his high school instructors were absolutely correct.