Walter Herbert Rufenach, 89, passed away at his home in Columbia Falls on Feb. 5, 2019.
He was born on Dec. 24, 1929, to Amelia and Waldemar Rufenach in Kalispell.
Walter started his work at Stoltze Lumber when he was 16 years old. He interrupted his work career for a two-year stint in the Army. He served as a tank instructor in Germany. Upon his return he again worked at Stoltze. After there he began working at Plum Creek Lumber, where he retired after 27 years.
He was a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Columbia Falls for over 50 years. He faithfully maintained the church grounds and enjoyed doing anything to enhance the church property.
Dad loved going to auctions, always attending all that he could. He was an avid recycler (dumpster diver), finding broken equipment, fixing it and reselling it.
His yard and garage were his pride and joy, and he spent many hours working in both, always making yearly improvements. In the winter he loved plowing.
He loved tools and the happiest we ever saw him was when a Harbor Freight was opened in Kalispell. We laughingly say he was their first customer.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents Amelia andWaldemar, brothers Richard and Alfred, and sisters Lydia Bartz and Elise Bruyer.
He is survived by his children, Kenneth (Francis) Rufenach, Kristal Rufenach, and Kathy Bianchi; grandchildren, Ken, Christopher (Krista), Cassidy (Dan), Chauncey, and Randi (Jason); step-grandchildren, Moriah, Miranda and Nathanial; 20 great-grandchildren; sister, Lillian Case; sister-in-law, Alice Rufenach; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for Walter will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Columbia Falls.
Lunch will be served at the church following services. Urn burial will take place later this spring with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a charity of your choice.
Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls in caring for Walter’s family.