Donald Ruhland, age 67, of Hilbert, died unexpectedly on Friday, December 2, 2016 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. Don was born November 18, 1949 in Fond du Lac, the son of the late Isadore & Anita (Schneider) Ruhland. Don married Alice Brenner on October 30, 1971 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Kloten.
After graduating from Hilbert High School in 1968, Don attended the Agriculture Science Short Course at UW-Madison before returning to his home farm. Don worked many years with his father and brothers to build and grow the still operating Maple Grove Dairy south of Hilbert.
Don was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hilbert where he sang in the choir and volunteered regularly. Don was a member of the Knights of Columbus Tri Council 7732, Catholic Order of Foresters, the Calumet Sno-Trails, and sat on the board of directors of Fox Valley Farm Management.
Don had numerous accomplishments both professionally and personally, but he was really just a kid at heart. He loved spending time with his family and friends and made the most of every moment, everyday. Over the years, Don went from a duffer on the links to a champion, recently securing his golf league championship in the Wednesday AM league at Hickory Hills where he carried former Sheriff Jerry Pagel. “Lucky Don” would never pass up a free beer or a game of Sheepshead with his family or friends.
Don’s greatest joy was his family that included both blood relation and anyone he could convince to sit down for a meal. He loved to cruise the backroads in his ’78 Lincoln Continental and looked forward to showing it off in every parking lot, especially at the Annual Rowland’s Beer Fest. In the winter, Don could be found hunting the fresh groomed snowmobile trails of Calumet County and recently the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Don was the gentleman socialite who knew at least 8 people wherever he went. At a party, you could count on him arriving first, leaving last, and looking to have fun with everyone he met.
Don had a deep and personal connection to his faith that was second only to his deep devotion and love he had for his beloved Alice. In the years to come, Don will continue to be a role model for his children, grandchildren, and some day great grandchildren. His family will never tire of the stories, jokes, and sayings he made throughout his life, and they will miss the true joy and laughter he brought wherever he went.
Don is survived by his wife of 45 years: Alice; his children: Dan Ruhland and his partner, Larry Srebrenick; Chad Ruhland (girlfriend, Allison Halada); Michele (Shawn) Rude, & Maria (Joe) Halbach; foreign exchange children: Mikel, Claudia, Stephane, Attila; Don had 6 grandchildren and was looking to add three more in the future. From heaven, Don will surely be following the accomplishments of his grandkids: Amber, Lukas, Zach, Ryan, Ashton, Abby, Jameson, Isaac, and Caleb; he is also survived by his brothers: Joe Ruhland, Paul (Diane) Ruhland, Leon (Pat) Ruhland; his sisters: Donna Jensen, Ruth (John) Moses, Barb (Bob) LeCaire; his father-in-law and mother-in-law: Rudy & Dorothy Brenner; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Howie Fochs, John (Arlene) Brenner, and Karen (Joe) Schoenborn. Don is further survived by nieces, nephews, many grand-animals, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister: Rosie Fochs; and sisters-in-law: Karen Ruhland & Dianne Ruhland.
Funeral service will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at St. Mary Catholic Church (108 S. 6th St.) in Hilbert with the Rev. Michael Betley officiating.
Burial will be in the Parish Cemetery. Friends may call at the Wieting Family Funeral Home (411 W. Main St.) in Chilton from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Monday, December 5, 2016 and on Tuesday at the church from 9:00 am until 10:30 am. A Parish Vigil Service will be held Monday evening at the funeral home at the close of the visitation.
Donald’s family would like to thank the First Responders, ambulance personnel from Chilton & Brillion, the entire staff at the Calumet Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital, especially the staff in the ICU; everybody was fantastic. They would also like to thank Rev. Dr. Marc Axelrod, Fr. Michael Betley and Dcn Steve Vande Hey for all of the comfort, consolation, and prayers that they provided not only to Don, but his entire family as well.