obituary from newspaper


Theo Ripperger, 81, died Saturday, June 3, 2000, at the Rolfe Care Center.

Services were held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 8, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Rolfe, with the Rev. David Peterson officiating. Burial was at Clinton-Garfield Cemetery, Rolfe.

Survivors include daughters, Kathy Martinsen, Des Moines; Eloise Smith, Garden City; Karen Maass, Clive; Laura Bitar, Centreville, VA; Virginia Ripperger-Rabi, Stafford, VA; sons, Alan, Steve and Dennis Ripperger, all of Rolfe; 19 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; sister, Meriam Zeman, Gilmore City; brothers, Leonard "Tiny" Ripperger, Rolfe; and Elroy Ripperger, Gilmore City. He was preceded in death by his, parents, Leonard and Minnie Hagedorn Ripperger; wife, Lillian; one granddaughter and sister, Frances White.

Theo Joseph Ripperger was born September 2, 1918, near Bradgate. He was raised and educated in the area and graduated from D.M.T. High School in 1936. Following his education, he farmed with his father near Rolfe.. He served in the Army Air Corps in the European Theatre during Wild War II. In 1950, he married Lillian Reese at Laurens. The couple farmed near Rolfe. His wife died in 1993. He continued to live work the farm until 1995, when he entered the Rolfe Care Center.

He was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he served as a trustee for many years. He also served on the Rolfe School Board, and was a member of the Lions Club and the American Legion.


a reflection by one of Theo's grandchildren


My Grandpa

My grandpa lives on a farm in Rolf e, Iowa. He does a lot of work. He feeds the cows every morning. He always helps if someone needs help and he likes all the family. My grandpa doesn't forget like some older people do and he is very nice. He is very smart too.

My grandpa's hands are dirty a lot and they're almost always gripped on the steering wheel of his tractor or his tools. His hands guide the chainsaw when when he's cutting firewood or burning garbage.

He has no barn because it blew down and he doesn't plan to build a new one. There is a small building for baby pigs. He has six little buildings instead. Two of them are abandoned chicken coups where there is broken glass and old troughs and it is very dirty. In three sheds he keeps a three wheeler and a four wheeler and tractor wheels. Another building has his boat and in the third one he keeps all kinds of stuff and the last one is divided for his coon dogs and it is fenced in on each side and

there is alot of holes in the two fenced-in yards.

He is 73 years old but a hard worker. He has a dog named A. J. My grandpa is always glad to see my family.


a reflection by one of Theo's daughters

Things I Remember About My Dad

I remember how much he loved Mom.

I remember bad telling the story how after Laura was born, the fourth daughter, the doctor said, "Sorry Theo. It's another girl."

I remember that he used to tickle me and then say, "What's wrong? Do you have ants in your pants?"

I remember our family vacations in our station wagon packed with ten people and a camper trailer behind. And I remember Dad saying, " If I have to tell you to stop fighting one more time, I'm going to pull over and you'll be sorry!"

I remember never traveling more than a couple of hours from home before one of us would be telling Dad to pull over because one of us had to vomit.

I remember how hard he worked.

I remember the picnics at the Heald’s place down in the pasture by the creek.

I remember fishing with Mom and. Dad. Dad would always stay busy baiting the hook and taking the fish that were caught off the hook.

I remember his kiss on graduation day from high school when he handed me my diploma.

I remember how much Dad liked to play cards with the neighbors. Dad would always win and Mom would consistently lose.

I remember how much he loved all of us.

I remember whenever there was a difficult decision to be made at the hospital concerning Mom, he needed all his kids there. Not just five or six but all eight.

I remember how much he wanted Mom to live and how devastated he was when she died.

I remember how much he loved Mom.