Family members said Saturday that a father and son whose bodies were found at a midtown Omaha home both died of natural causes.
“One you can expect, but to have them both go at the same time,” said Echo Soza, one of the family members.
Omaha police identified the men as Ronald D. Wilke, 76, and Jeffrey Wilke, 50. The elder Wilke was a retired carpenter, the younger man an Air Force veteran.
They lived in a house at 4807 Farnam St. Their bodies were discovered Friday morning — one inside the home, one outside.
Police have ruled out foul play, said Officer James Shade, a police spokesman.
Family members visited the home Saturday.
Soza, a niece of Ronald Wilke, said police told the family it appeared that Jeffrey suffered a heart attack inside the house.
Perhaps in shock or seeking help, Ronald Wilke — who had a history of heart problems — went outside and later collapsed and died, Soza said. His body was found in a row of shrubs.
Police have said the men had been dead for some time before a neighbor spotted Ronald Wilke’s body and called police.
“He might have freaked out about finding his son, came out here, fell and had a heart attack,” Soza said. “It’s very, very odd.”
Ann Wilke, mother of Echo and sister-in-law of Ronald Wilke, said it was “a big relief’’ to be told that the men died of natural causes. “It could have been much worse.”
Authorities declined to comment on the causes of death, saying they are awaiting autopsy results.
Soza and Ann Wilke live in Fremont. They said they weren’t close to Ronald and Jeffrey Wilke, but they were still shocked at the news.
Jeffrey Wilke had back problems and had recently undergone surgery.
“The son was in bad shape,” said Warren Swanson, who lived across the street. “He was in a lot of pain.”
Swanson said he and Ronald Wilke used to share a cup of coffee nearly every day on their front porches, where they’d chat about politics, work and family.
But after Wilke’s wife, Linda, died of cancer in 2007, he became withdrawn, Swanson said.
“It hit him hard,” Swanson said. “He quit coming over for coffee and he kind of kept to himself.”
Family members said that before retiring, Ronald Wilke had worked in construction for one of the Kiewit companies.
Jeffrey Wilke was the father of twin sons. Soza said her family was trying to reach out to the boys.
Swanson said Jeffrey Wilke doted on his now-teenage sons.
“He worshiped those boys,” he said. “Just loved them. He’d do anything for them.”