HAUBSTADT — Walter C. Rietman, 91, passed away Thursday, April 11, 2018 at North River Health Campus in Evansville.
He was born October 27, 1926, in Evansville, Indiana, to Bernard and Magdalena (Folz) Rietman. Walt attended St. Philip Catholic Grade School and graduated from Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville. Within two months of graduation, Walt was drafted into the army near the end of World War II. He spent most of his duty in the Philippine Islands. He was honorably discharged in September 1946, holding the rank of Sgt. Major, after serving two years.
On May 11, 1949, Walt married the former Ruth Lee Emmert, daughter of Peter and Elnora (Schafer) Emmert.
He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth; his parents; four sisters, Margie Toon, Leola Weinzapfel, Sr. M. Augusta, OSB, and Esther Humpert; two brothers, Bernard and Joseph. Walt leaves behind his four children, Diane (James) Lamey, Mark (Cheryl) Rietman, Richard Rietman, and Leah (Kent) Haley, 11 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and two great great granchildren.
Walt spent most of his adult life in the general store and restaurant businesses, along with the insurance business. He ran a general store at St. Philip until 1956, when he sold out and moved his family to Haubstadt. He worked for his brother-in-law, Louis Humpert, for ten years at Humpert’s Tavern. He, along with Larry Haley, founded Haub Steak House in 1970. In 1977 he started Walt’s Place in Haubstadt. He later became an underwriter for American Family Insurance until his retirement.
Walt and his family attended Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, where he was an active member. He was the first president of the parish council and served as a eucharistic minister. He was also a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus and Knights of St. John. Walt was also very active in many civic and fraternal organizations. Among them were the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce (where he served as president), and also served as Haubstadt Sommerfest Chairman. Among his many civic duties he served on the Gibson County Sheriff’s Merit Board for 25 years and was on the Gibson County Economic Development Commission Authority, having served as its president at its inception. He also served on the board of the Gibson County Community Foundation.
Walt was an avid sports fan all his life, particularly St. Louis Cardinals baseball. He was a wonderful storyteller, having heard and shared many jokes and stories over the years as a bartender. He also loved talking about his experiences as a Double II league baseball player for St. Phillips and St. Wendel in the late 40s and early 50s.
The family found inspiration in Walt’s care for his wife, Ruth, during her final years of life as she suffered from pulmonary fibrosis.
The last 10 months of Walt’s life was spent at North River Health Campus. The family would like to thank all the staff that Dad grew to love and considered family. Also, a special thanks to Heart to Heart Hospice for their exceptional care.
Walt lived out his life for his faith, family, and friends.
Visitation will be held at Wade Funeral Home in Haubstadt Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will be a Rosary service prior to visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m.
A Mass of Christian burial is at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church Saturday, April 14, at 1 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sts. Peter and Paul Church.
Online condolences may be made at wadefhinc.com