ANTON “TONY” RUFENER
October 12, 1929 - June 6, 2019
Tony was born October 12, 1929 and raised in Frick (Canton Aargau) Switzerland. While growing up, Tony learned the trade of being a “blacksmith” from his father and served with the Swiss Military. In 1949 Tony, along with his mother, immigrated to the U.S. In 1950, Tony met his future bride Bertha through the Swiss community that was established in Tacoma. On September 27, 1952, they were the first couple to be wed under the St. Francis Cabrini Parish name, but due to the church not yet being complete, they celebrated their wedding at Visitation Church in South Tacoma. Soon after Tony was called for service in the U.S. Army’s 10th Division. This took him and his new bride back to Europe. While stationed in Germany the couple welcomed their first child, Karl. After his Honorable Service, the couple moved back to Tacoma and Tony started working with Flett Dairy Farms as a Maintenance Engineer. He worked there until his retirement in 1989. Tony built the family home in Lakewood alongside Bertha’s family members. Eventually the family grew with the additions of Mark and Ruth Ann, thus the Swiss roots were firmly planted! Living near immediate family, traditions were strong and passed onto the next generations.
Tony was a longtime Swiss Club member and held several positions on the boards of the Tacoma Swiss Sportsman’s Club and the Swiss Men’s Society. With his heritage, Tony provided an abundance of knowledge and experience to the membership, thus helping establish tradition among the members. Tony was a staple for the Wednesday work parties at the Swiss Park. Members would help clean and maintain the grounds and structures. After work was completed the traditional Swiss card game of Jass was played, increasing the bonds of the membership.
Tony loved the mountains. The family was fortunate to have a view of Mt. Rainier from the home that Tony built in Lakewood just outside their back door. The family would take many trips to Mt. Rainier with relatives from California, New Zealand, Switzerland, and everywhere in between. There were gourmet picnics with the potato salad, sausages cooked over the propane stove, pies, and cookies. Camping at Mt. Rainier was a yearly event as well. We would always go on a hike that would remind Tony of hiking in Switzerland with the beautiful wildflowers.
Tony enjoyed watching the Seahawks and Mariners. But over the years, Tony was alongside his kids when they were hang-gliding, scuba diving, playing basketball and motorcycle riding. He was their biggest fan!
Tony could fix just about anything—from toasters, lawnmowers to cars! He loved teaching his sons, grandsons and son-in-law the tricks of the trade. There was just about nothing that he could not handle. Tony would spend numerous hours outside tending to his garden, fruit trees, the farm, and flowerbeds. The family would enjoy the delicious vegetables and fruit that would be produced from Tony’s hard work.
Tony was always there for his family by giving endless support in anything that they chose to do. As a couple, Tony and Bertha have shown how two people should LOVE one another and LOVE their family.
Tony is survived by his wife Bertha, sisters Martha and Irma, children Karl (Lorna), Mark (Susan), Ruth Ann (Russ), grandchildren Kurt (Michelle), Gregory (Christina) and great-grandchildren Chloe, Mia and Layla.
Tony’s love for Bertha and his family will always remain! On June 6, 2019, Tony had another calling. This was from the heavenly father asking Tony to join him in Heaven. Tony answered the call. Tony will be truly missed by his wife, children, family and many friends.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial may be made in Tony’s name to either Swiss Club or a charity of your choice. A Catholic Mass to celebrate Tony’s life will be on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 11:00 at the St. Andrew Catholic Church in Sumner. The rosary will be at 10:30, prior to mass. A reception at the Swiss Park in Bonney Lake, will immediately follow mass.
Tony loved his Swiss pastries and desserts. Donations of dessert for the reception would be greatly appreciated!
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