Elmer Diedrich Wilken was born July 21, 1928, in the family home in Brunsville, Iowa, the son of Frerich and Therese (Redelfs) Wilken. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter Lutheran Church. He attended grade school at Brunsville Independent School and graduated from Central High School in Le Mars.
He went to work at Herman J. Harms Elevator in Brunsville. In 1950, he was drafted into the United States Army. He served his country as a construction engineer during the Korean Conflict. He was honorably discharged in 1952. After returning to the states, he continued to work at the elevator.
He was united in marriage to Peggy Plueger on May 29, 1952 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brunsville.
After the elevator changed name to Borchers Grain and Feed, he continued with the company. In 1980, he purchased the elevator and operated the elevator under the name, Brunsville Grain and Feed. In 1993, he sold the elevator and retired. He suffered a stroke in March 2001, and later that year became a resident of the Good Samaritan Society of Le Mars.
Shorty was lifetime member of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brunsville, having held several positions, including Sunday school treasurer for 25 years. He also served as a trustee and deacon. He was active in Lutheran Brotherhood for many years.
He was instrumental in establishing the Heeren-McHale-Wilken American Legion Post 724 in Brunsville. He had recently received his 50 year membership plaque. He held several positions in the Legion, including as a Past Commander.
In early years, he was active in Little League. He enjoyed fast and slow pitch softball. He also enjoyed bowling, golfing, fishing, and hunting. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Survivors include his wife of more than 56 years, Peggy of Brunsville; three sons: Alan Wilken and his wife Jane and their family, Patricia and Steven of Missouri City, Texas, Keith Wilken and his wife Ann and their family, Sarah and Katie of Le Mars, and Barry Wilken of Houston, Texas; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his mother and father in law: Charlie and Lucille (Jeffers) Plueger; two brothers: John Wilken and his wife Martha, and Herman Wilken and his wife Jean; and a granddaughter: Christine Wilken.