WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Devoted husband and father Rudy Reichardt, 90, of Watersmeet, Mich ., was lifted to life eternal with his Lord on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Winter Haven.
Rudy was born Aug. 28, 1923, to Rudolph and Isabelle Reichardt.
Rudy graduated from Watersmeet High School and shortly thereafter enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Before he departed, Rudy met the love of his life and built a special bond to the woman he would one day marry. While serving his country in Saipan, they corresponded by mail and his family fondly refers to them as their “sweetheart letters.”
On March 30, 1946, he married Viola “Marge” Helgren, of Ironwood, Mich. They were blessed with more than 67 years of marriage and three children.
Rudy was an avid outdoorsman, evident in his love for hunting, fishing and trapping. Whenever these season openers arrived, Rudy had the exuberance of a child just itching to get outdoors on his quest for a 10-point buck, a mess of brook trout, partridge or the biggest beaver. He also had a great respect for wildlife, beauty of the forests, bird-watching and gardening his flowers each spring. His neighbors also enjoyed the array of flower beds and would often see him pruning and caring for his gorgeous blooms. Rudy also enjoyed getting out in the woods to pick berries and apples. So, Marge became an expert jelly and pie maker with her fresh ingredients.
Rudy was fortunate to have been employed with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which granted him the luxury to work outdoors. He retired in October 1982 after more than three dedicated decades of service.
In Rudy’s spare time he was always willing to help friends with odd jobs and carpentry projects. It was obvious he had a “knack” with a saw or hammer in his hand.
Rudy faithfully served his home church, Hope Lutheran, as president of the church council, as usher and graciously volunteered in other roles when the need arose.
Rudy was a lifelong member of the American Legion Post 417 in Watersmeet. He enjoyed the camaraderie of his club and was known to be quite the cribbage player. He participated in many parades and was part of U.S. history in 1985 when a white spruce tree from Ottawa National Forest was gifted for our national Christmas tree. He also served as chaplain and friend.
Rudy is survived by his wife, Marge; a son, Robert (June) Reichardt, of Columbus, Ohio; a daughter, Kathi (Kenneth) Carufel, of Winter Haven; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; father- and mother-in-law, Julius and Hilda Helgren; sister, Bethel (Dominic) Corsi; and loving daughter, Yvonne (Dan) Hall.
A special thanks to Sterling House ALF of Winter Haven for providing care and loving support. Also, thanks to Ketola-Burla Funeral Home for arrangements.
A small gathering to honor Rudy’s life will be held on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 1:30 p.m. at Sterling House of Winter Haven.
A celebration and burial will be announced in early summer to take place in Watersmeet.
Our family is grateful for his nurturing ways, wisdom, support, guidance and above all, his love. His kind spirit will be with us always.