Kretschmer, Ruth Ann Stangel, Saginaw Township, Michigan


Ruth lived a long, fruitful and happy life. Of that, there can be no doubt. She taught her large, loving family the value and wonder of good food, hard work, the learning power of travel and art, the beauty of music and the joy of living. Ruth Ann Stangel was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on July 27, 1920 to Adolph and Bernadette Murray Stangel, the oldest of 5 children. She attended Lincoln High School in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University, where she met a dashing young medical student named Thomas Vincent Kretschmer. Ruth Ann graduated from Marquette and went on to teach at Chilton and West Bend, WI. During wartime, Ruth and Tom were married on December 2, 1944 at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, before Tom's deployment in the Army Medical Corp serving in Czechoslovakia. Ruth Ann stayed in Manitowoc, supported by her younger siblings, all now, sadly, deceased: Ellen Mueller, Betty Kreft, Paul Stangel, Marion Sondergaard and Chuck Stangel. They are now reunited in the Catholic spirit which guided them. Ruth Ann and Tom moved to Saginaw to set up Tom's medical practice and raise a family. Both efforts were met with overwhelming success. They raised Thomas Vincent Kretschmer, Jr. (deceased), Mary Bernadette (Michael) Klein of Saginaw, John Andrew (Nora) Kretschmer of South Haven, Michigan, Ann Elizabeth (Russ) Surgeson of Saginaw, Constance Marie Kretschmer of San Marcos, Texas, Charles Edward (Dinah) Kretschmer of Northville, Michigan, Jane Ann Bonk of Saginaw, and Elizabeth Rose (Thomas) Kretschmer Kaiser of London, England. We sincerely miss Tom senior and Tom junior and are glad they are together with Mom this day. Ruth Ann was blessed with 8 children, 18 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren, all of whom are deeply appreciative of the fact that she was able to actively enjoy and love them right through her 94 years. Raising a family of eight never flustered Ruth Ann. The household was an inviting spot for neighborhood kids, foreign exchange students (ola' to Cecilia and Christina in Brazil!), medical residents, priests and nuns, and the occasional local medical emergency. Ruth hosted all with élan and good humor, whether poolside, at the table, or on the patio. This was also true for family vacations at East Tawas and later, Walloon Lake. You always knew you would be introduced to new music, new food and good wine. We can still hear Antonio Carlos Jobim on the stereo while the scent of osso buco wafted from the kitchen. You can't talk about Big City Miss Ruth Ann without mentioning travel. One of her greatest joys was hosting nine other female family and friends in beautiful rental homes in Provence, Tuscany and Amalfi. These excursions were filled with art, music, history, food, laughter and the occasional bottle of Nero d' Avola. Even in her 80's, Ruth explored and enjoyed with nary a complaint: White water rafting on the Deschutes in Oregon? No problem. Cross country skiing in Walloon forests? Let's go. Czechoslovakia, Dubrovnic, London, Paris, Ireland, Nice, Germany, Austria, China, the Olympics in Mexico were all opportunities to learn, teach and enjoy the other cultures of the world with her family and companions. Her adventurous spirit lives on in all of us. Ruth Ann was also an avid bridge player, reader, movie goer and cook. She played piano. She enjoyed the occasional Scotch. She loved the symphony. She hosted interesting discussions over a full dining table about politics, culture, theatre, the latest author, and was never afraid to challenge her family and friends to examine their beliefs. Ruth was an active member of The St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary, The Assistance League of Saginaw, St. Stephen's Parish, The Saginaw Country Club, The Saginaw Club and the Pulaski Club. She was a lifelong Packers fan and was even able to attend a Packers game in her 80's thanks to her grandson Chris Klein. Go Pack! She was the rock and the center of our universe, and her leaving leaves all of us with a huge hole in our heart, but we are comforted with all that she gave us and all that lives on through our bloodlines: faith, curiosity, tolerance, a love of learning and the ability to enjoy the life we have and the world we live in. Thank you for teaching us the love we now return tenfold to you. The family would also like to thank Kay LaDouce, Ruth's special friend and companion for her help and support, and also the caring staff at Caretel, who provided excellent service, even during the cranky moments. The family would also like to thank Scott Reis for his patient kindness. Pour four more, Ruth and Tom, we are truly thankful for the love, support and tools you left us. Funeral Liturgy will take place on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 1310 Malzahn St., Rev. Fr. Andrew LaFromboise will officiate. Cremation will follow the funeral liturgy and a private burial will take place at St. Andrew Cemetery. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Road, on Friday, April 17, 2015 from 5-8 p.m. Ruth will lie in state at the church on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to The St. Mary's Hospital Foundation. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at the funeral home, church or through www.deislerfuneralhome.com.