Mary Henrietta Ryterske, 86, passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded with the love of her family, on Monday, July 20, 2009, after being diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer just two weeks ago.
Mary was born in Harlan, Iowa, on May 29, 1923, to the late Henry and Mary (nee: Stoltz) Thraen. After graduating from Harlan High School in 1941, she went on to work at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., as a secretary. It was in Washington that she met a young soldier, and the love of her life, Peter Paul Ryterske, Jr. They were married at the Walter Reed Hospital Chapel in D.C. by Rev. John Dunne on June 28, 1947.
Prior to her retirement, Mary was employed as an executive secretary at Massey-Ferguson. However, her main priority in life was being a full-time wife and mother – a career she completely excelled at. While her children were young, she loved being involved in all their activities, especially as an adventurous Girl Scout Leader.
With a profound faith in God, Mary was a dedicated member of St. Lucy Catholic Church. She was an excellent cook, phenomenal seamstress, proud breast cancer survivor and was always up for playing a good game of Bridge – especially with her various club friends. Above all, Mary loved nothing more than being in the surroundings of her entire family.
Surviving are her husband of over 62 years, Peter; their children, Constance L. (James J.) Runge, Thomas P. (Donna Zilles) Ryterske, Jeanne M. (Mark J.) Schaefer and Susan M. (Martin J.) Halcsik; grandchildren, John M. (Keri), James A., Mary Jill and Joel C. Runge; Eric P. (Toni), Stephanie J., and Michele J. Schaefer; Shawn Halcsik; Rachel E., Kathryn A. and Sarah L. Ryterske; great-grandchildren, Dylan, Mykenna, Collin, William and Jayden; sister-in-law, LaVerne Gentz; brother-in-law, Raymond Kenkel; Peter’s foster sister and brother, Kathleen (Ronald) Barth and Benjamin Hubert; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and close friends too numerous to mention by name. In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by her 13 brothers and sisters.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. Lucy Catholic Church, 3101 Drexel Ave., on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Mark R. Jones officiating. Interment will follow in S. Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove. Visitation will be in St. Lucy Church on Monday from 6-8 p.m. and on Tuesday from 9:30-10:30 a,m. In memory of Mary, memorials to the St. Lucy Church Building Fund have been suggested.
A heartfelt note of thanks to the entire staff of Wheaton Franciscan – All Saints Medical Center 3D, ICU and Hospice for the compassionate care and support that was so warmly extended to Mary and to our family during the past two weeks. May God bless all of you!
Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home & Crematory
4600 County Line Rd., Racine 262-552-9000