Delores Ethel Reuter died peacefully on April 17, 2013 at Homestead Living Assisted Care Facility in Waunakee.
In the last days of her long life, Delores was surrounded by her family and the ever-compassionate and dedicated caregivers of Homestead Living and Agrace Hospice Care.
Born on July 21, 1922, Delores was the second of five children born to Omer and Laura (Cole) Richard in Overly, North Dakota. By today’s standards, the life of a family of wheat farmers on the plains was pretty rough, but, when asked, Delores insisted that they had a good life there. The family moved often when the wells on their farms went dry, and in the winter, it was common practice to run a rope from the house to the barn so that no one lost his way after chores in blizzards. Growing up, Delores attended a one-room school. She and her brothers would get there either on horseback or in the horse-drawn sled driven by her father or Uncle Joe. Delores loved to learn, but was also a willing participant in some pretty crazy pranks perpetrated on other students. At the age of twelve, she helped deliver her baby sister, Maxine. When Delores was in her late teens, she was invited by her Uncle Albert and Aunt Florence Richard to travel with them to Wisconsin in their Model A Ford. She landed in Sauk City where she got a job as a waitress at the Midway Tavern. Here she met that handsome bartender, Elmer Reuter, who swept her off her feet. They were married on May 27, 1941 at St. Norbert’s Catholic Church in Roxbury, and celebrated the occasion with a dance at the Aragon Hall on the shores of Fish Lake.
When Elmer was drafted into the army during WWII, Delores, like so many other women of that time, went to work to make ends meet. She moved to Madison with three of her sisters-in-law, and worked at the Gisholt Machine Company where she helped turn out valves and balancing instruments used in the War effort. She also became a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. When Elmer returned from the war, the two of them returned to Sauk City where they operated the Midway Tavern until 1955. From there they moved to a new home on Washington Street where they raised their three daughters. Delores was always busy, gardening, cooking, or baking. Having grown up during the depression, nothing was wasted. Delores canned everything from the usual fruits and vegetables to the wild game bagged by Elmer. Of course her children never let her forget the day when the pressure cooker blew up on the stove and threw pork hocks onto the walls and ceiling. Walking home from school, it wasn’t unusual to smell cinnamon rolls baking for an after-school treat, and who could forget those deep-fried gallettes sprinkled with powdered sugar?
In 1971, Delores was so proud when she earned her Certified Nursing Assistant diploma, and worked at the Maplewood Nursing Home in Sauk City.
After Elmer died in 1974, Delores sold their home in Sauk City, and eventually settled in Waunakee. She made several trips to Texas and Illinois to visit her children and their families living there and took her Madison grandkids camping and fishing. She was able to travel to Alaska and Germany and got to use her knowledge of Canadian French on a vacation to Canada with her sister, Maxine. She loved to drive and boasted that she got caught speeding only once. It was impossible for even the youngest to keep pace with Delores on the dance floor. Delores never lost her spunk and was known to wink at the staff at Homestead even in her last months.
Delores was preceded in death by her parents, Omer and Laura Richard, her husband, Elmer, their newborn son, Eldon Carl, two brothers, Omer and Leonard, and her sister, Maxine David. She is survived by three daughters, Lana(Howard) Johnson, of Ocean Isle Beach, NC, Myrna Kay(Steve)Young of Madison, Darla(Randy)Highley of Bonita Springs, FL, four grandsons, one granddaughter, and two great-grandsons, and one brother, Doward Richard of North Freedom, WI.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11:00 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 209 South St., Waunakee, with Msgr. James Gunn officiating. A visitation will be held at the church one hour prior to service. Burial will follow at St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery in Sauk City.