Wednesday, September 23, 2020


May 19, 1927

   Rubert D. Zahrte was born May 19, 1927, to Otto and Olga (Henning) Zahrte. He was born in the Township of Grant, (Summit Valley) Warrens, WI. He was delivered by his grandmother, Mary Henning, the neighborhood midwife.

   He worked on the family farm and did logging in the Warrens area, until he ventured out for Rockford, IL in April of 1955. June 4, 1955, he returned to the Tomah area to marry the love of his life, Rita Hart. Together they made their home in Rockford. He was a very hard worker and found employment with Rockford Blacktop. He wasn’t for idol hands, he started earlier than his shift. He worked through his breaks and stayed late to finish his daily tasks. Instead of winter lay off and unemployment, he chose to work and found employment working for Pierce Box Factory.

   After working these jobs in the day, he found a farmer in Rockford who could use his love for the things he grew up doing and worked there until late in the evenings and weekends. When Rubert came out to the farm in Tomah, he always wanted to cut into the brownies his sister Florieda made. Also while visiting the farm, he loved to play with his great-great-grandniece, Teagan and her dolls.

   In 1969, Rubert and Rita had a home built. He wanted a sprinkler system put in, Heaven forbid you have someone do the work! He put his skills to work and built a system with his own two hands. He was so resourceful. Rubert’s motto was, “the body will rust away before it would wear away.”

   He was a very private and humble man. Material things didn’t mean a lot to him. There was never a project he wasn’t afraid to tackle. Rubert loved baseball and was a true-blue Yankees fan. He was always a Dodge man and took a lot of guff from his family members. He would always smile as he drove away his 1989 “summer” Dodge van and his “winter” 1983 Dodge Ram 150 truck named Bluebird.

   Rubert and Rita loved life after retirement. They loved going to the casino and playing bingo. Whenever the family got together, Rubs was always up to a game of Euchre and a beer. A few winters they drove to Florida. The one year he went to Florida, it was so cold, he said I might as well stay in Rockford and they never went again.

   Rubert is survived by a sister, Jerleen Schlesser; sisters and brother-in-law, Betty (David) Muehlenkamp, Donna Cotman, Patricia Arndt, Judy Hart and Kenneth Hart; a special cousin, Rolland Densmore; as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends.

   He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita; his parents, Otto and Olga (Henning) Zahrte; and his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Eva and Riley Hart; sisters, Norma (Roy) Robinson, Florieda (Ronald) Gorham, LaVern (Stanley) Clifford, Leona Zahrte; brothers, Lorance (Garylon) Zahrte, Ruland Zahrte, Hurley Zahrte; and a brother-in-law, James Schlesser.

   Many thanks to St. Anne’s Center of Rockford, IL for the wonderful care provided. Thank you to his niece, Pastor Jerleen Schlesser for officiating over Rubert’s service. Emma and Luke of Torkelson Funeral Home for pulling this all together during these difficult times. And last, but not least, Rub’s was so blessed with numerous good friends, wonderful neighbors and a grand-nephew, Mitchell Dreier who shared his love of Dodge’s.

   Graveside services were held at Oak Grove Cemetery in Tomah, WI. A Celebration of his life will be held this summer.

   The Torkelson Funeral Home of Tomah is assisting the family with arrangements.

   Online condolences are available at

Torkelson Funeral Home

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876


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