Patricia Joan “Patti” Delaney-Ruhland, age 51, passed away on November 24, 2014at home with loved ones by her side.
Almost four years ago, Patti was diagnosed with retroperitoneal leiomyosarcoma, an extremely rare cancer. With amazing courage and vitality, she transcended the presence of cancer in her life and inspired everyone who knew her to live joyfully in the moment, just as she did.
Patti was born on February 25, 1963, in Prairie du Sac, to James and Nancey (Blake) Delaney. On March 21, 1994, Patti married Allan Ruhland in Panama City Beach, Florida. Together they raised three beloved children, their daughters Paige Nancey and Quinn Marie, and their son Blake Timothy.
Growing up, many of Patti’s lifelong friendships were struck at Tower Rock Elementary School. She graduated from Sauk-Prairie High School in 1981, attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and earned her degree in hospitality management from the University of Wisconsin–Stout. Highlights of her career in hospitality include such well-known venues as Walt Disney World in Orlando, the World Music Theater in Chicago, the MECCA in Milwaukee and the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. But the most important venue to Patti would always be home. She cherished family life and her role as a mother, and was privileged to work side-by-side with her dad in their family business, Delaney’s Surplus Sales.
A proud and involved mom, Patti volunteered as the Foods and Nutrition leader for the Prairie Busy Badgers 4-H Club, passing her skills in kitchen arts to the next generation. She was also a volunteer dental assistant at the Good Neighbor Clinic in Prairie du Sac. Giving back to her community was important to Patti.
Patti loved baking, photography, music, euchre, gardening, and creating the little touches that make special occasions like holidays, graduations and reunions extra fun and memorable. If you were invited to a “Patti production” you would be treated to an amazing spread, the rockin’ best tunes and your picture in the slide show. If she were to give you a gift, it would be a homemade specialty—most likely baked goods, her famous jam or a family-favorites cookbook. Patti was passionate about preserving her family’s history, lovingly capturing and compiling the day-to-day pieces of their story into special keepsakes.
Some of the best times were just cruising the back roads with Patti in her red Mustang convertible, tunes cranked, cracking up at her witty one-liners. Patti loved to laugh—at life and at herself—and we loved laughing with her.
A planner by nature, Patti discovered another side of herself as she learned to live with the uncertainties of cancer. In her words, “Life isn’t about the big events; it’s about ‘the little happies’ that come along every day.” She was especially proud to have instilled this life lesson in her children. Her positive outlook lifted the family up, supporting them and giving them strength for the days ahead.
Patti is survived by her husband Allan, daughters Paige (friend Elliot Dederich) and Quinn and son Blake, all at home; her father James Delaney (friend Barb), brother Dennis (wife Michelle and sons Dylan and Logan) Delaney, sister Suanne Delaney, sister-in-law Stacy (husband Mike, daughters Morgan and Erica) Ramaker, and kindred friend and bonus sister Cheri Slaney.
She is also survived by an extended family of sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews: Janelle and Duane (Lindsey, Cassie) Eller, Daryl and Mary (Kristie, Lorelee, Alicia) Ruhland, Wayne and Janet (Becky, Ben) Ruhland, Michelle and Alan (Nicole, Melissa, Emily) Kalscheuer, Mary and Mark (Chad, Kara) Pings, Victoria and Doug (Derek, Darren) Yanke, Walter (Matthew, Heather, Kayla, Kaitlyn, Kara) Ruhland, Dean and Sherri (Travis, Nathan, Tyler) Ruhland, Jerilyn and Steve (Raquel, Kaitlyn, Karissa) Johnson and Gerard Ruhland.
She was preceded in death by her mother Nancey Delaney, a brother Tim Delaney, father- and mother-in-law Victor and Edna Ruhland, a sister-in-law Brenda Ruhland, and a niece Kaitlin Zolper.
Patti wishes to acknowledge these special medical professionals whose expertise, guidance and support helped her create the right balance between quality of life and time to share with loved ones: Thomas A. McFarland, MD, Therese Quinn, RN, and Kathy van Veldhuisen, NP, at UW Carbone Cancer Center; Kevin R. Kozak, MD, PhD at Mercy Hospital in Janesville; Barclay E. Schultz, MD, at Prairie Clinic; and Kathy Moon, RN, Maria Johnson, RN, Cleo Paulman, CNA,and Trishia Noriega, at SouthernCare. A special thanks goes to her favorite valet parker Tom Kreilkamp whose cheerful smile and kind words always put “a little happy” in her day.
Patti’s life has been awesomely lived and generously shared. We, Patti’s family and friends, now stand and proudly applaud and cheer her on her way as she continues this life’s journey with Jesus to her heavenly home to live in perfect profound peace and immense overwhelming love—and where “the little happies” will truly never end! We love you, Patti!
A Celebration of Life will be held at the SAUK PRAIRIE RIVER ARTS CENTER, 105 9th St., Prairie du Sac, at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 21, 2014, with Pastor Dennis Virta officiating. Family will greet relatives and friends from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service. Interment will take place in June at Otter Creek Cemetery in Sumpter Township.
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