It is with much sadness our family announces the death of Ruth Margaret Kieffer Schultz, 98, in Wausau, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. “Aunt Ruth” was a sweet, gentle yet powerful spirit in the lives of her nieces, nephews and dear friends. Her quiet private support of Wausau and regional activities and programs was her understated way of making a difference in the lives of many in the community who may never know of her generosity and caring spirit.
Ruth was born in Wausau, Wisconsin on September 30, 1920 to Mary (Fara) and Edward Eugene Kieffer.
Although she was well-traveled, she never strayed far from the city where she was born and raised.
Ruth had four siblings, and was only 12 when her father passed. Consequently, she witnessed and was taught courage and strength from her mother, who continued to provide love and security to her close little brood.
In her youth Ruth formed an unbreakable sisterhood bond with Elaine. Ruth was always exceptionally energetic and a natural athlete enjoying the challenge of being her personal best in many sports through her entire life. She shared numerous, often humorous stories of a happy childhood that included homemade kuchen, sprawling Sunday picnics in Marathon Park and other locations, card playing (lots of it), and the Model T that chugged its way up to the lake for fishing trips.
Her talent for numbers, names, perfect recall and sense of humor never left her. Her first job was working for Mr. Kreske as a “Million Dollar Baby in a 5 and 10 Cent Store”. Early on she was recognized for and she saw the importance of personal talent contributions. She improved work conditions and embraced innovation in telecommunications as a switchboard operator, helping out all her life with bookkeeping and other essential small positions, and helping out in multiple businesses of the rest of the family.
Ruth married Paul Stephen Schultz (a Brokaw boy, as she called him) on July 25, 1942. They set out together on an adventure that would last 64 years. They were always encouraging and challenging each other to explore new innovations at home and in travels. Although times were tight, they always made the best of every situation and did it economically. They were always trying new sports, sports equipment, experimenting with photography, all to the delight of the extended family.
Their first two years of marriage were a distant adventure, in Milwaukee, where Paul was a Naval officer working in the recruitment office. With a dollar pass for the bus and a bicycle, she explored Milwaukee.
Another frugal pastime that brought much joy was family trips, and fishing for many years in the wilderness in Canada and Lake of the Woods
Later, when times were a bit better, the wanderlust of adventure lead them to travel throughout the United States from Canada to Galveston Texas; from New York to California; they cruised to Alaska and Hawaii; vacationed in California and Florida. Every day was an exploration of something new, then and to her last day, which kept her timeless.
Being perpetually active, energetic and determined were big secrets to Ruth’s longevity. Together Ruth and Paul ice-skated, bowled, golfed, curled, volunteered and traveled. They seemed to momentarily adopt all the kids in the family as theirs, and they were affectionately called “Root’ n Paw.”
Her State and Regional achievements documenting her sports talents were many. Bowling: Wausau Bowling “Hall of Fame”; 600 Series – numerous awards; 265 High Game. Golf: Wausau Country Club; Two holes-in-one; many league trophies; Northeastern Traveling Team - 20 years. Curling: Wausau Curling Club; won National Senior Bonspiel; won Badger State Senior Bonspiel; won Couples inter club team events; Ruth and Paul had 80 years combined continuous curling.
Other memberships included: National Catholic Society of Foresters, Past Treasurer (with her typical humor she outlived her policy); Ladies K of C Club; American Legion Auxiliary Unit 10 and Saint Michael Catholic Church.
Ruth and Paul’s contribution to Wausau, youth and sports is exemplified by their underwriting of various facilities around Wausau and the Wausau area. Wausau is indebted to you, Ruth and Paul Schultz, and your memory lives on in the joy and healthy education these facilities bring.
Family, friends and community know how Ruth stayed relevant and current. She enjoyed the adventure stories of all her nieces and nephews, enjoyed being included on Harley rides, fish fries, dates with the day drinkers, along with community and family celebrations where she imparted her wit and wisdom on many. Ruth was often asked, “What is your secret to a long, good life?” Her moniker included three things: “Enjoy everything, but in moderation.” “Always endeavor to do your best ever.” and, “The best things in life are free.”
Admirably, all her life and especially in her later years, Ruth never lost her sharp memory, keen sense of history, sense of humor and sense of integrity.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents and husband. She was also preceded in death by her siblings: Marie Kieffer (Ralph) Princl; Elaine Kieffer (Clarence) Wanta; Jean Kieffer (Elmer) Lattyak and Edward (Gladyce) Kieffer.
Ruth is survived by her siblings children and their extended families: Mary Princl Wisneski Karlen, Edward (Shirley) Princl; Barbara Princl (Patrick) Stehly; Sandy Wanta (Scott) Mubarak; Craig Wanta; Kathy Kieffer Mathie; Kenneth Kieffer; Kelly (Sherry) Kieffer; Karla Kieffer; Kevin (Nancy) Kieffer; Kirt Kieffer; the late Kealie Kieffer (Don) Beilke; Lynn Lattyak (Bill) Nemke and Lori Lattyak. Ruth is also survived by the children of Paul’s brother Joe (Connie) and their extended families: Greg (Craig) Schultz; Jeff (Diane) Schultz; Jon (Marcia) Schultz; Scott (Sandy) Schultz; Chris Schultz; Gretchen Schultz (Darron) Blackburn and Eric Schultz.
The Family suggests donations in Ruth’s honor to Aspirus Hospice House and Cancer or Heart Research of your choice.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Monday May 20, 2019 at St. Michael Catholic Church. The Very Rev. Msgr. Mark Pierce will preside. Entombment will be in Memorial Chapel Mausoleum, Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. Visitation will be on Monday May 20, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services at the church. Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com