Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, answered our mother, Elsie Rathjen’s prayers and called her home on July 22, 2018. Services will be held at 10:00 AM CDT on Friday, July 27, 2018 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, rural Hazen, with Pastor Bill Wagner officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 PM CDT on Thursday at Barbot Funeral Home, Hazen.
Elsie Maratha Rathjen, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, left this life, leaving behind a legacy not of money or property, but one of a hard life, long lived. Elsie was born on July 13, 1923 on her family’s farm northeast of Hazen to Fred and Emma (Maas) Sailer. She was one of 12 children, seven boys and five girls. On June 18, 1944, Elsie married Clarence Rathjen at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Her married life started on a farm about six miles from her father’s farm. On March 19, 1946, the first of the Rathjen family, Myron, was born. Five more children followed him, Mildred “Millie”, Melvin, Maynard, Mark and Milo. All six of Elsie children live in Mercer County, five in rural Hazen and one in Beulah.
On the Rathjen farm, the family lived in an old, three-room house which was built on the original homestead. It had no running water, electric service, toilet or central heat, but as time went on and the family grew, rooms were cobbled on. All six children were raised in that house. Elsie finally got a new house in 1969 with a promise to her husband that she would finance and pay the mortgage, which she did, all while raising six children, milking 20-40 cows every day ,raising hogs, chickens, turkeys and various other duties. After paying off and burning the mortgage, she asked to have the cows and related equipment sold. Elsie then went on to work in Hazen as a cook at two different cafés. She became famous to the local customers for her knoephla soup. This soup drew in many repeat and new customers. At the age of 84, Elsie retired from café cooking and became involved with the Senior Citizens program, such as meals on wheels, and later visiting shut-in seniors around the Mercer county area.
Elsie lived a life full of hard work with compassion for all, love and pride of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with a few great-great-grandchildren. While it’s true that she will be missed by all who knew her, all are happy that she is now in her new home in Heaven with God the Father of all.
Elsie is survived by her children, Myron (Laurel) of Beulah, Millie (John) Cole, Melvin (Tena), Maynard (Val), Mark (Wendy) and Milo, all of rural Hazen; two brothers, Wilmar Sailer of Stanton and Levi Sailer of Hazen; two sisters, Bernice of Cour D’Alene, ID and Darlene of Bismarck.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Emma Sailer, her husband, Clarence, her grandson, Michael Rathjen, and her siblings, Rueben Sailer, Edmer Sailer, Oscar Sailer, Emil Sailer, Eldor Sailer, Frieda Heine and Edna Neuberger.
Arrangements are conducted by Barbot Funeral Home, Beulah and Hazen.