Walter Ratchenski, 91, of Cavalier, ND, passed away Monday, April 24, 2023, at Unity Medical Center, Grafton, ND. Funeral service will be held Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at the United Lutheran Church, Cavalier, ND. Visitation will be held Friday, April 28, 2023, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. at the church.
Walter Ratchenski was born on April 13, 1932 on the family farm near Hamilton, ND to August and Emma (Bobert) Ratchenski. He attended school in Hamilton and graduated in 1950. After high school, he continued farming with his family and enjoyed all the social activities the county had to offer, especially dances. Walter married Ruth Thompson from Grafton, ND on November 14, 1954. They lived in the Hamilton area for a few years before moving into the family farm’s house, where they would live and raise a family for 23 years before moving to a new home on the same farmstead in 1981. They lived there until moving into town in 2007.
Walter’s farm started small and continued to grow and expand under his careful management. He started growing wheat and barley, added sugar beets in 1965, and then beans in 1998. Walter’s philosophy was to invest in land, maintain machinery so it would last, and have his wife and children as helpers. He was proud to have all four sons follow in his footsteps and go into the family business of farming. He liked taking a Sunday afternoon drive with everyone in the car to check on the fields.
While livestock wasn’t Walter’s focus on the farm, he was practical and kept a few head of cattle and a milk cow for several years. He also helped his older sons raise Chester White pigs during their 4-H days. Walter was a man of faith. Throughout his life, he attended United Lutheran Church and especially enjoyed singing hymns during worship.
After years of hard work, Walter and Ruth decided to become “snowbirds” and bought a place in Mesa, AZ in the early ‘90s. This began the annual rite of getting to AZ in time for the New Year’s Eve dance and returning to ND at the end of March or Easter, whichever came sooner. Walt loved being able to play shuffleboard, ride bike and take walks in warm weather while everyone back home was shoveling snow. He and Ruth made many new friends, but also connected with family and friends from back home with picnics, playing cards and dancing.
Walter is survived by his wife Ruth and his children: Wayne (Lorna) Ratchenski, Cavalier, ND; Dale (Sheryl) Ratchenski, Hamilton, ND; Mark (Becky) Ratchenski, Cavalier, ND; Barbara Moon, Lakeville, MN; and Jon (Barb) Ratchenski, Hamilton, ND. Grandchildren: Tara (Chad) Kendall, Bryan (JoEllyn) Ratchenski, Luke (Raichl) Ratchenski, Tess (Alec) Johnson, Lily (Alex) Flage, Matt (Kait) Ratchenski, Andy (Katelyn) Moon, Katie Moon, Ellie Moon, Adam Ratchenski and Isaac Ratchenski.
Greatgrandchildren: Rhun, Cyrus, Piper, James and Cade Kendall; Colton and Alyx Ratchenski; Emma, Eli and Evie Ratchenski; Lauren, Olivia and Emerson Flage; and Ramsey Ratchenski. Siblings: Carrie Anderson and Herman Ratchenski.
He was preceded in death by his parents, August and Emma Ratchenski; siblings: Arthur (Vi) Ratchenski and Florence (Ray) Gustafson.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to United Lutheran Church, Faith In Action, or L.O.A.N.