This past Monday was two months since my excellent father died. I didn’t realize it had been that long until a church member sent my wife and me a sweet email letting us know she was praying for us. Life’s still a blur. Three days after returning from traveling to the funeral I tested positive for COVID-19, which meant quarantine followed by many weeks of fatigue. It was an exhausting ending to an exhausting year. On top of that, I’ve had more than one doctor appointment to try to determine if there is an underlying physical cause to the migraines that have increased in frequency to an average of three/week.
So, I’ve wanted to write a few posts in honor of my dad, but have not had the mental or physical energy to pull it off yet. I’m still only at 70% productivity, which is very difficult (and frustrating) for me. But I thought I would at least start by simply sharing the obituary that my sister and I put together with the input of our four other siblings. I will be forever grateful to God for giving me such a hard-working, loving, and faithful father. [The photo above was taken by my brother in 2010 in front of a farm where Dad worked as a boy to bring food home to his parents and siblings.]
Ralph E. Tautges, of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully with family at his side at Kathy’s Hospice in West Bend on November 25, 2020, at the age of 96 years. Ralph was born in Aniwa, Wisconsin on April 21, 1924, to the late Walter and Anna (Muhs) Tautges. He later married Joyce Paquette of Kingsford, Michigan on August 4, 1951. Their marriage was blessed with six children, twenty-one grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
At the age of 20, Ralph entered into service with the U.S. Army, 104th Infantry, 26th Division in the European theater during World War II. He received several medals, including three bronze stars for his participation in combat operations. He loved his country and proudly displayed its flag at every opportunity.
Ralph was a wonderful example of hard work and commitment throughout his life and placed a high value on education. Though life circumstances forced him to leave high school early, in order to work to help provide for his parents and siblings, he later earned his high school diploma as a veteran while working full time in 1950. After working for several employers in the Milwaukee area, he settled in at Square D Company where he worked for almost forty years, retiring in 1989. While at Square D, he went on to take electrical classes at MSOE to work toward a promotion, all while raising six children and working a second job to allow Joyce to stay home with the children. He was a faithful husband and loving dad whose commitment to his family was evident to all who knew him. He loved spending time with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Ralph’s life was characterized by how sacrificially he provided and lovingly cared for his home and family. Anyone who knew him remembers how meticulously he cared for his yard and home, spending time on special projects that they enjoyed for years to come. His laugh was infectious and he had a non-complaining, content attitude throughout his life. Since 2014, he was loved and appreciated by his neighbors and staff at the Gables of Germantown and Home Helpers of Greater Milwaukee. Ralph’s family wishes to thank those who looked out for him there and made those years of his life so enjoyable.
Ralph is survived by his children Alan (Colleen) Tautges, Kevin (Annie) Tautges, Jean (Kurt) Kielisch, Steven (Sally) Tautges, Paul (Karen) Tautges, and Craig (Tina) Tautges, grandchildren: Joseph Tautges; Erik, Kaleb, Kielisch and Heidi (Matt) Brockman; Dylan, Camryn, and Owen Tautges; Ashley Tautges, Kenan (Megan) Tautges, Taylor (Courtney) Tautges, Kailyn (Cameron) Schmahl, Alaina (Nicholas) Piscioneri, Anna (Aaron) Coumos, Kayte, Leta, Nolan and Iain Tautges; Sophia , Ella, Griffin, and Carson Tautges. Ralph is further survived by eight great grandchildren, other relatives and many friends. He was preceded in death by his wife Joyce, parents, sister Inase, brothers Carl, Lawrence, and Harold, and his great granddaughter Isabelle.