Bertha Teresa Rufener was born on February 11, 1930 and passed away peacefully on June 12, 2020. Bertha was the first born to Paul and Bertha Stump. Her cherished sister, Pauline, was born 4 years later.
Bertha attended Manitou and Visitation Grade Schools and graduated from St. Leo’s High School in 1948. Her early teen summer school vacations were spent working at Flett Dairy in the ice cream plant and then in the office. Upon completion of High School, Bertha began working full-time as a bookkeeper for Flett Dairy.
Bertha met Anton (Tony) Rufener in 1950 and they were married on September 27, 1952. They were the first couple married by Father Andrew J. Squire at St. Francis Cabrini Church in Lakewood, but since the new church was not yet built, the wedding was celebrated at the Visitation Church in South Tacoma.
Soon after they were married, Tony was drafted into 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. When they returned to the states, 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!
Bertha felt it a true blessing to have her relatives live in such close proximity—Bertha’s sister, Pauline and her late husband, Dick, next door, and her parents, the late Paul and Bertha Stump, just around the corner on their well-cared for little Swiss farm and tidy home with manicured yard and garden.
Until the time that Bertha and Tony moved from their home in Lakewood to their first retirement home in Bonney Lake, Bertha was very active in her yard and busy at home cooking and baking all those delicious meals, pastries and pies. Family would especially look forward to holiday meals and Mom’s homemade rolls and strawberry jam and all eat at a minimum of two of her delicious rolls! Her pies were legendary and raised hundreds of dollars at charity auctions!
Bertha was a charter member of St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church and School. She served as a Eucharistic Minister for over 25 years and was President of the PTA for the school. She was also a member of the Tacoma Swiss Ladies Society since December 1, 1946 and served as President of the Club for 6 years. One favorite club Mom belonged to for over 50 years was the Flett Needlettes, a neighborhood group of ladies who gathered in each other’s homes to visit and sew.
Bertha was blessed with almost 67 years of marriage to Tony who passed away June 6, 2019. It was always a pleasure to go into their home to see them so happy, even if it was when they would be standing side-by-side washing and drying the dishes together.
Bertha and Tony were fortunate to travel to New Zealand to visit their cousins on several occasions as well as take several trips to Switzerland. They were thrilled to show their children and grandchildren their homeland! 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.
Bertha is survived by her sister, Pauline, sister-in-law Martha, children Karl (Lorna), Mark (Sue), Ruth Ann (Russ), grandchildren Kurt (Michelle), Gregory (Christina) and great-grandchildren Chloe, Mia and Layla and many nephews and nieces.
The family wishes to thank everyone for all of the cards, visits and prayers that Mom received. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Swiss Ladies Society of Tacoma or Catholic Community Services.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, there will be an immediate family only service at the St. Andrew’s Church in Sumner followed by internment at the Sumner Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held for Bertha at a later date.
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