Eldon William Elmer Rath, age 72, of Hutchinson, died Wednesday, April 2, 2008, in St. Cloud.
He was born Sept. 14, 1935, in Hutchinson, the son of Carl and Martha (Trettin) Rath. Eldon was baptized as an infant Oct. 15, 1935, and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth June 5, 1949, both at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Stewart, Minn.
Eldon received his education in Stewart, and was a graduate of the Stewart High School class of 1953.
He was a member of the Army National Guard in the early 1950s.
Eldon was united in marriage to Marlene Holtz May 21, 1960, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Acoma Township, McLeod County. This marriage was blessed with two children, Connie and Daryl.
Eldon and Marlene resided and farmed on the family homestead in Collins Township, rural Stewart, until 1982, when they moved to Acoma Township. They shared 47 years of marriage.
In January of 1978, Eldon began working for Hutchinson Manufacturing Inc. as a welder and mechanic. He retired from full-time employment in 2000, but continued to work part time after his retirement.
Eldon was a member of Christ The King Lutheran Church in Hutchinson. He was also a member of the McLeod County Fair Board, where he served as the event organizer; the National Tractor Pulling Association, the Minnesota Minn - E - Rods, and Gopher Campfire.
Eldon enjoyed hunting, fishing, spearing, taking motorcycle trips, and snowmobiling. He loved to participate in tractor pulls with his children, Connie and Daryl, and especially enjoyed spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Eldon was a kind-hearted man who was always willing to lend a helping hand. He will be dearly missed.
He is survived by his wife, Marlene Rath of Hutchinson; daughter Connie Walters and her husband, Rob of Dassel; son Daryl Rath and his wife, Jennifer of Hutchinson; eight grandchildren, Jeremy, Jessica, Darin, Brady, Jaydon, Jerrod, Jansen, and Tucker; sister Marcella Hoffman and her husband, Vernon of Arizona; sisters-in-law Dolores Rath of Hutchinson, June West and her husband, Larry of Park Rapids, Betty Eggert and her husband, Wayne, and Peggy Brekke and her husband, Gary, all of Hutchinson; brother-in-law Alvin Holtz and his wife, Marion of Hutchinson; nieces; nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
Eldon was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Martha Rath; and brothers Lloyd Rath and Donald Rath (in childhood).
Funeral service was Monday, April 7 at 11 a.m. at Christ The King Lutheran Church in Hutchinson with the Revs. Jon Lindekugel and Karl Kruse officiating. Organist was Bev Wangerin. Special music was provided by Rev. Lindekugel, who sang “I Am The Bread Of Life;” and bagpiper Greg Peller, who performed “Amazing Grace.” Congregational hymns were “How Great Thou Art” and “I Love To Tell The Story.” Eulogies were given by Mike Griebel, Kurt Kurtzweg, and Jan Johnson. Interment was in the Oakland Cemetery in Hutchinson.
Casket bearers were Greg Holtz, Jon Sprengeler, Brent Reiner, Chuck Hausladen, Mike Griebel, and Kurt Kurtzweg. Honorary bearers were Alvin Holtz and fellow tractor pullers.
Arrangements were by the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson. Online Condolences may be directed to www.hantge.com. Please click on Online Condolences.