John Chester Wilker

November 4, 1935 ~ October 9, 2022 (age 86) 86 Years Old



John Wilker was born in Waseca, Minnesota on November 4, 1935, to Elizabeth and Ewald Wilker.  He was raised on a dairy farm where he learned the values of responsibility and hard work.  His siblings, Lorenz, Iona, and Wesley preceded him in death.  He is survived by his immediate family and his sister-in-law, Della Vivien.


After graduation from high school, John attended the University of Minnesota followed by Wartburg College in Iowa, where he graduated in 1958.  While there he met his wife, Phyllis Koester.  Their marriage on June 2, 1958, started a lifelong union, friendship, and family.  John then enrolled in Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa to become a Lutheran minister and was ordained into the ministry in June of 1962. He accepted his first call to Trinity Lutheran in Ventura, CA.  Over the next 37 years he served the following Lutheran churches all. In CA.  Trinity in Ventura, Christ the King in Torrance, Trinity in Victorville, St. Peter’s in Santa Ana, and Trinity in Santa Barbara.


John and Phyllis have three children, Joel (wife Heidi) Belding, MI, Karen Pettek (husband Len) Thousand Oaks, CA and Tom (wife Denae) The Woodlands TX.  John spent most of his time outside of work focused on raising his family with Phyllis. He was their teacher, coach, cheerleader, and role model. He also avidly followed their activities in school, sports, and life adventures.  And because of his love of learning he was proud all three children have college degrees.  And best of all, being a minister, he was able to officiate at the wedding of all three children.


If you wanted to get John talking, all you had to do was ask him about his grandchildren:  Bryce and Greta Wilker, Brody and Connor Pettek and Aiden and Liesl Wilker. Travel was planned so they could see their sporting events, dance recitals and graduations.  John also shared his dreams of continued education for the grandchildren.  Three hold college degrees and the other three will soon be completing their college studies.  This past August, John had the honor of performing the wedding of his oldest grandchild, Brody.  With this marriage John and Phyllis added a seventh grandchild to the family, Taylor, Brody’s new wife.  The wedding was also a special time for John and Phyllis as the whole family was together to celebrate.


In early retirement, John continued to assist other churches by serving as an interim pastor.  And he totally enjoyed his weekly golf game with friends and a circle of friends he made as a staff usher at the Thousand Oaks Theaters. Travel with friends was also special.


John’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at 1 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1600 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA.




Graveside Service (Family Only)
December 3, 2022

10:00 AM
Conejo Mountain Memorial Park
2052 Howard Road
Camarillo, CA 93012


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