Rhodora Lucille (Rufledt) Robey – a most unique and beautiful name fitting for this most unique and beautiful lady. She was style and grace and movie-star beauty in Wisconsin farm-girl genes and jeans. She passed away on November 18, 2020 at Dove Healthcare Bloomer at the age of 92.
Rhodora (or as some knew her – Dorie) was born on May 1, 1928 to Edward and Florence “Hazel” (Raatz) Rufledt – into a loving, Christian, faith-based family. She grew up north of Bloomer in what is also known as the Dutch Flat on her family’s farm along with her sisters Florence, Evelyn, and Goldene, and twin brothers Norbert and Norman. She helped out on the farm as much as any guy could. She proudly drove horses, drove tractor, helped with the hay crop, helped in the house - in the kitchen preparing meals for the farm-folk -- be it her immediate family, or a “crew” that was there to help out. She grew up learning to bake bread and buns, grow a garden, process home-grown produce, and take care of a household before the many modern conveniences we have now. The perfectionist in her always had a keen eye and a knack of keeping things clean, tidy, and she could do wondrous things with little.
She went to school in the early years out in the Dutch Flat area. She graduated from Bloomer High School in 1946, then continued to help out on the farm.
A balance of working hard and playing hard led her to meeting Francis (Sonny) Robey, who she then married on September 10, 1955 in a double wedding along with her sister Goldene to Jim (Verdon) Frank who was a good friend of Sonny’s. Rhodora and Sonny were blessed with four children – Joel in 1956, Yvonne in 1957, Suzanne in 1958, and Thomas in 1969. She was proud to be a homemaker and stay-at-home mom – the very place she wanted to be, and exactly what she always wanted to do.
A foundation of faith, God’s love, love in the Lord Jesus, and a good soul was always Rhodora’s core and driving force. She was a private person, and yet became an unofficial advocate and spokesperson on behalf of the nursing home (at that time – Maplewood) that she was admitted to in 2013, giving encouragements like, “You’re gonna like it here!” “Everyone is so nice, and the food is great.”
Those that knew her, loved her, and will forever miss her, knowing that while she may have come across as shy at times (as private people can), she had a driving force like none other. She would stand up for and defend anyone – especially those at a disadvantage. She loved many, and was loved by many.
Her legacy will live on in those that she took untiring pride in and love for – her family. She would say, “We may not have a lot of money, but we’re rich in family”. And she lived that love – a selfless love - and pride - right to the end. She will be dearly missed, but remembered always.
She is survived by her children – Yvonne Baier, Suzanne (Paul) Michels, and Thomas (Rebecca) Robey; grandchildren [Yvonne’s] -- Russell Baier and his wife Tami and their children Evalyn, Alaina, and Dylan; and Erin Peterson and her daughters Londyn and Tenley; [Suzanne’s] -- Deon (Shawn) Bowe and children Roman, Gwyneth, and Griffin; Denise (Scott) Fagerlin and children Issac, Abigail, Bennett and Eloise; Karla (Dallas) Gearing and children Cole, Max, Norah, and Levi; Cassandra Michels; Clarissa (Ryan) Naset and their daughter Remini; and Kiley (Justin) Meinen (and baby Meinen due in April 2021); Thomas’ daughter Maranda (Jake Weibel) Steinmetz-Robey; and Rebecca’s children Chris, Tyler, Shania, and Jenna.
She is further survived by her sister: Goldene Frank and brother: Norbert Rufledt; brother-in-law: Duane Robey, sisters-in-law: Ruth Ann Lund, Myrna (& Fuji) Harris, Merlene Rufledt; numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents: Edward and Florence “Hazel” Rufledt; husband: Francis “Sonny”; son: Joel in infancy; grandson: Mason Peterson in infancy; her sisters: Florence Yakish and Evelyn Toufar, brother: Norman Rufledt; her in-laws: Clifford and Clara Robey; and siblings in-law: Marilyn Rufledt, George Yakish, Lawrence Toufar, Verdon (Jim) Frank, Wally Eisner, Lucille Robey, Malcolm (Mac) Robey, Alberta Robey, Don Badura, and George Lund.
She was ever so proud of her name – and was quick to tell anyone “it’s not a made-up name, it’s named after a flower – that blooms in May, and my mother didn’t even know that”. And she had memorized and would recite this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who took care of Mom while in the nursing home – those in her early stay when it was Maplewood, and now as Dove, and most recently, those that helped us – her family – while in this most uncharted territory of Covid all the while keeping us connected, and caring for and loving Mom. You are ALL Heroes.
A visitation will be held on Monday, November 23, 2020 from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Olson Funeral Home in Bloomer with a private funeral service later and burial in the Rufledt Cemetery. Please observe social distancing and CDC guidelines.