(posted 03/12/09) The following email was received from John Ragatz:
Friends and Relatives
Our beloved Mother, Rea Ballard Ragatz, finally left us today, March 11, 2009, in Denver, CO after a wonderful full life. Born in Washington D.C.on August 12, 1910, she was 98 years old . We feel very blessed that she was a part of our lives and lived a long, fufilling life with comfort and peace to the end. We will miss her dearly.
Seeing that she outlived most of her peers in Madison, WI, and Green Valley, AZ, there will not be a public memorial service. A tribute will appear in the obituaries section of the Wisconsin State Journal, Green Valley News and Valley Presbyterian Church. No donations are requested other than your kind thoughts and prayers.
WOW! God bless Mom and all the many people who had the good fortune of crossing her path over nearly 100 years!
Alice, John and Peggy
P.S. Below is a beautiful poem that Dad, Roy, wrote and secretly hid in the safety deposit box before he left us on November 17, 1989. He died on the tennis court in Green Valley right after winning a marathon set of doubles 9-7! We felt, while personal, his note was a wonderful closure to his partner of 56 years, Mom, who finally reunited with him today.
AUF WIEDERSEHEN ( Until We Meet Again )
Don’t grieve for me;
Don’t bathe yourself in tears.
Recall, instead, with joy
Our many happy years.
Life is a transient space in God’s design,
To live beyond is but a wish.
May I live on in memory
As a loving mate, ever thine.
Live out your life with vigor;
Paint with joy in seeing
God’s handiwork around you.
Thus, I’m with you, evermore.
This is no time to say “good-bye;”
But rather a fond “Auf Wiedersehen.”
If eternal life is really true,
We two, as one, will never die.
Update: The following obituary announcement appeared on the Capital Times website on 3/22/09
Ragatz, Rea Ballard
Rea Ballard Ragatz passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at Brighten Gardens, Denver, Colo.,on March 11, 2009. She was 98. She is predeceased by her beloved husband of 57 years, Roy, who died on the tennis court in Green Valley, Ariz., in 1989. She is survived by her children Alice Rea (William Bruce White, deceased) Toronto, Canada, John Ballard (Nancy Markham) Denver, Colo., Margaret Louise (Peggy) (David Alan Gaarder), Madison, Wis.; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Rea was born in Washington, D.C., on August 12, 1910, grew up in Virginia and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1931, where she majored in art and design. She pursued her love of art at home in Shorewood Hills while the children were growing up and later returned to the university to take refresher courses. It was at this time that Rea decided to focus on the medium of watercolor. Active in art circles, Rea went on to become president of the Madison Art Center. In 1977, Rea and Roy moved permanently to Green Valley, where they had spent their winter months previously. Rea continued her painting in the Southwest, winning many regional awards and displaying in one woman shows. She was active in the Snow Bird Art Gallery in Green Valley both as an administrator, as well as a contributing artist. She also loved to play tennis. If desired, donations may be made to a charity of your choice in Rea Ragatz’s name.