Obit: Opelt, Ruth Pearl #2 (1929 - 2005)
Contact:  Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Opelt, Erdmann, Burfeind, Zschernitz, Thoma, Fitzmaurice, McDonough, Bird, Schaefer, Murphy

----Sources: Clark County Press (Neillsville, WI) May 4, 2005

Opelt, Ruth Pearl (February 24, 1929 - May 1, 2005)

Ruth Opelt, age 76, of Neillsville, died Sunday, May 1, 2005 at the Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville, Wis.

Ruth Pearl Opelt was born February 24, 1929 in Stockton, MN the daughter of Walter F. and LaVita (Erdmann) Burfeind. She was baptized in Lewiston, MN and then her family moved to Hill Point, WI where she attended school. After finishing her schooling, she moved to Madison, where she worked in a drug store and played the guitar, piano and accordion in a band with her sisters. Ruth was united in marriage to Kenneth Opelt on November 17, 1949 at the Zion Lutheran Church in LaValle. They lived in the Madison area for a couple of months and then moved to Neillsville, where they famed and raised their 13 children.

Ruth was a member of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Neillsville, Wis. She was also a member of the PTO of St. John’s Lutheran School and a member of the Happy Homemakers Club in Levis Township.

She loved listening to music, especially polkas and tapes of her daughters singing. She like sewing and darned many socks in her day and she enjoyed spending time in her garden. Her grandchildren were a very special part of Ruth’s life. She loved watching them grow visiting with them and their musical talents brought her much joy.

Ruth is survived by her husband, Kenneth; and 12 children, Steven (Pixie) Opelt, of Neillsville; Eugene (Carol) Opelt, of Neillsville; Gayle (Becky) Opelt, of Grants Pass, OR; Kevin (Donna) Opelt, Alan Opelt, Darlene (Joel) Zschernitz, Rollin (Gail) Opelt, Dawn (Greg) Thoma, Russell (Jill) Opelt, Darla (Gary) Fitzmaurice, Douglas (Lori) Opelt, all of Neillsville; and Donna (Paul) McDonough, of Plum City; one daughter-in-law, Sally (James) Bird, of Neillsville; 36 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; one sister, Audrey Schaefer, of Reedsburg; one brother, Lyle (Betty) Burfeind, of Wonewoc; one sister-in-law, Mary Burfeind of Waunakee; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by an infant son, Glen; a son, Keith; her parents; a sister, Carmen Murphy and a brother, Rueben Burfeind.

Funeral services for Ruth will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, May 4, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Neillsville, Wis. Pastor Timothy Biebert will officiate. Music will be provided by Sharon Nemitz organist, Nathasha Cole, soloist and St. John’s School Children. Interment will be in Dells Dam Cemetery in Levis Township. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m., Wednesday at the Church.

Honorary Casket Bearers are: Daniel, Jonathon, Joshua, and Phillip Opelt, Hunter Schoengarth and Robert Thoma.

Casket Bearers are: Dale and Ronny Burfeind, Donny Neumann, Eric, Paul and Tony Opelt.

The Gesche Funeral Home is assisting Ruth’s family with funeral arrangements.



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