Ingeborg “Inge” Renate Grulke, beloved mother, passed away peacefully on September 21, 2023, in Florida surrounded by family. She was 89 years young. She moved from Connecticut to sunny Florida in 1996. She was predeceased by her husband Harry Eugen Grulke who died March 19, 2004. She was strong, self-reliant, and determined, particularly since his passing, yet she deeply loved her family.
Inge was born December 1, 1933, in Karlsruhe, Germany to Josef Bopp and Berta (Mechler) Bopp. Seeking a better life, she immigrated to the United States, arriving to the Port of New York on September 21, 1955. She worked as a nanny and housekeeper, helping her to learn English. She also attended an English language class where she met her future husband, Harry. She fondly recalled stories of him pulling on the flowers in her hair and teasing her about her “Swabian dialect” before starting their life together. They were married on November 16, 1957.
Inge kept her home and everything she had meticulously clean and well cared for. She cherished her home and family. The birth of her sons, Peter and David, brought her much delight and fulfillment. She was a stay-at-home-mom for many years, creating a loving home for her children, counter to her own childhood. Later, she worked as a paraprofessional at George J. Penney High School and then as a Commercial Loan agent at CBT/Fleet Bank.
Inge proudly served as a Boy Scouts of America Den Leader and Den Leader Coach for Cub Scout Pack 61 in East Hartford, delivering a program that promotes character development to her own sons and many other young boys. She received numerous BSA training awards and was able to share her love of crafts, activities, and the outdoors with the next generation. Harry and Inge both loved camping with their travel trailers; biking; gardening; canning, especially peaches and plums; and making strawberry marmalade and currant jelly. Ever the traveler, Acadia National Park was a regular vacation destination with her family, and she ventured as far as Australia and even returned to Germany with her friends in Florida. She accepted help reluctantly and graciously and was forever proud to be a U.S. citizen.
Inge is survived by her two sons, Peter Grulke and his wife Michelle Bunneymeyer of Exeter, NH; and David Grulke and his wife Christine (McGough) of Tolland, CT. Oma (German for grandmother) is missed dearly by her four grandchildren, Eric Grulke and domestic partner Brianna Church of Concord, CA; Karl Grulke and wife Alexandra (Gillespie) of Vernon, CT; and Paul Grulke and wife Rachel (Trotman) of Granby, CT; Lydia Grulke of Exeter, NH; and great grandson Sawyer Grulke of Vernon, CT.
Inge leaves behind many friends from Faith Viera Lutheran Church and the local German club, and the South Brevard Ostomy Association that gave her encouragement and resources to renew her life and independence. Inge could frequently be found at the HealthFirst fitness center at 4am exercising and talking with friends as part of her daily routine. “Only the good die young” she would say, and firmly believed in Jägermeister or a shot of Mr. Boston blackberry brandy for “medicinal purposes.”
The Memorial Service celebrating her life will be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 239 Graham Road, South Windsor, CT on December 30th at 2:00 pm, Rev. Randall Pekari officiating. Memorial donations may be made directly to the South Brevard Ostomy Association, c/o Nancy Walle, Treasurer, 333 Tolley Avenue, Melbourne, FL 32934 or to the United Ostomy Association of America at ostomy.org/donate. Thank you for everything, Oma; well done and welcome home. You are dearly missed.