Pat Gehrke Passes Away at 86

Pat Gehrke

Patsy M. “Pat” Gehrke of Echo died on May 31, 2024 in Pendleton at the age of 86.

She was born on July 17, 1937 in Woodland, Wash. to Ernest and Geneva Adamson Pettit.

Pat was raised and attended schools in Ridgefield, Wash. She graduated from Ridgefield High School in the class of 1955. Pat then attended Emanuel School of Nursing in Portland. She was united in marriage to Merle Gehrke on March 29, 1958 in La Center, Wash. They owned and operated a dairy farm where Pat milked the cows alongside Merle while starting their family. They bought a farm in Echo in 1972 and moved their family to Echo full time in 1977, where they have lived since. She resumed her nursing career a short time later at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton. Pat was the charge nurse on the medical/ surgery ward until retiring in 1996. She loved helping others and was never more than a phone call away for anyone in need with an ailment or sick child.

Pat was a member of the Echo Community Church and spent many years teaching Sunday school at Pendleton Free Methodist Church. She enjoyed fishing, reading, daily reading her Bible, birdwatching and working in her yard. Pat and Merle traveled to 47 of the United States, as well as trips oversees.

She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Merle Gehrke, Echo; daughters, Susan Arndt and her husband Daryl, Ridgefield, Wash., Linda Carter and her husband Rick, Pendleton, and Debbie Airoldi and her husband John, Pendleton; sons, Merle Gehrke and his wife Monica, Stanfield, Dean Gehrke, Pendleton and Delbert Gehrke and his wife Beth, Echo; brother, Robert Pettit, Ridgefield, Wash.; sister, Irene Ginter, Brush Prairie, Wash.; 14 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Pat was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Alan and Jerry Pettit.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 11 a.m. at the Echo Cemetery.

Please share memories of Pat with her family at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.


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