Found peace on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at the age of 88. Beloved wife of the late Heinz Rehfeld. Beloved mother of Linda (Mark) Klemm and David (Beverly) Rehfeld. Dearest Omi of Austin, Sarah, Joshua, Nikolas, and Lukas. Beloved sister of the late Hildegard (the late Willi). Dear sister-in-law of, Waltraud (the late Helmut), Willi (Margot), Lieselotte (the late Herbert), the late Gerhard (Ulla), Erwin (Beate), Hildegard (Gerhard), Rolf (Ute), and Inge (Lothar). Further survived by many nieces and nephews. Ruth will be greatly missed by family and friends, both here and in Germany.
Ruth Rehfeld was born on June 2, 1932, in Linderhausen, Germany to her parents Ernst and Klara Laucht. In 1951, Ruth met the love of her life, Heinz, and they married in 1954. On July 24, 1962, they immigrated to the United States and moved to Milwaukee where Heinz’s sister, Hildegard, lived. In 1973, Heinz and Ruth became citizens of the United States. They were both very proud to be American, but always cherished their German heritage.
Ruth was a salesperson by trade. In Germany, she worked for a health food store as an apprentice, and later managed a specialty food department in a large department/food store. When Ruth came to the United States, she worked in the kitchen at Kohl’s Food Stores. She also worked for the Milwaukee Public Schools Food Service for many years, until she moved to Brookfield in 1988. As a side business, she was an “Avon lady” selling beauty products door-to-door for 20 years. Ruth finished her career at the Milwaukee Sausage Company where she worked as a salesclerk in the retail store until her first grandchild was born in 1994. Ruth then “retired” so that she could babysit for her grandson. She was happy to have the opportunity to babysit for all 5 grandchildren, who were her pride and joy. However, after the 5th grandchild, she said “Das ist alles!”
Ruth was very active in the Milwaukee German community. She was a German Fest volunteer for 38 years and a member of several German clubs. Ruth proudest accomplishment was being a founding member of the Milwaukee Damenchor. In 1989, after attending a national singing festival in Louisville, Kentucky, Ruth, along with a number of other ladies, decided it was time to start a German ladies’ choir in Milwaukee. Soon after, they held their first meeting and established the Milwaukee Damenchor. At that meeting, Ruth was elected the first President of the Milwaukee Damenchor and she remained so for almost 30 years. Due to the pandemic, the choir has been on hiatus since last March. Ruth really missed singing this past year, and she especially missed the fellowship with her Damenchor family. Her life was enriched by the many friendships she forged and cherished, through her involvement in the German community.
For all of her dedication to the German clubs, there was nothing more important to Ruth than her family. She loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, especially having everyone around the dinner table. Linda had a very special relationship with her Mama. Throughout the years, they spent a lot of time together, doing things that mothers and daughters do, and they had a bond that will never be broken. David always had a special place in his Mama’s heart. Of course, he was her favorite [son]. She could count on him to be there when she needed him, whether it was to fix something in the house, or just to share a cup of coffee. Though Ruth endured chronic back pain for over 30 years, she never let it get her down. She lived every day to the fullest and was a force to be reckoned with. Our dear Mama was the strongest person we have ever known.
Ruth loved to travel. She went back to Germany to visit family many times, but also enjoyed vacations in warmer climates like Florida, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
We were blessed to bring our Mama and Omi home in time for Christmas and New Year’s. Even though her health was declining, she was so happy to be home and surrounded by her family. We had great times reminiscing, having beautiful conversations, and sharing everything that was in our hearts. What a wonderful gift!
Our sincere gratitude to those who supported us and surrounded us with love these past few weeks. A special thank you to Tante Hilla and Gerhard for their many visits and meals and words of encouragement. We also extend our sincere appreciation to the Horizon hospice team and to our caregivers, Sue, Peg, and especially Heather, who was an angel sent by God during this time. Your love and compassion will never be forgotten.
A private service and interment will be held at Wisconsin Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life memorial service will be planned for Ruth later this year, when we are able to gather safely.