WP Receives Historic Estate Gift from Portland Business Owner

Merlin Radke passed away on February 17, 2017, leaving Warner Pacific an estate bequest that could be the largest single gift in the College’s history, with cash and property totaling at least $4 million.

Merlin was born in Baker City, Ore., on November 5, 1931 to Julius and Letha Radke. He attended George and James John Schools, Roosevelt High School, and Vanport College. Merlin became Vice President of the family business, Radke Auto Parts, when he returned home from the Air Force in 1957. He was responsible for adding the line of high performance products at the store, becoming the premier hot rod parts dealer, creating Radke’s Speed and Kustom. As president of the company, Merlin built upon the already successful family business of Radke Auto Parts, making the Radke name an icon in the St. Johns community of Portland and throughout the region.

The College is still processing the full scope of the gift, which includes cash, real estate contracts, and several pieces of property in the Portland area. While no definitive plans have been made at this time, Merlin Radke’s generous gift will be used as he intended, to strengthen the future growth of Warner Pacific and support our students as they dream, achieve, and flourish.