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Mr. Hans Rudolf Zurcher (85), known as Rudy by those close to him, passed away at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Washington on Wednesday evening, August 24th, 2022. He passed peacefully surrounded by his loving family.
During his long life, Rudy cared deeply for his family, his work, and his community. He was born on January 20, 1937 on the family farm near Frauenfeld, Switzerland. He had many happy memories of growing up among the beautiful mountains and farmlands. He attended farm school before leaving for America at the age of 20. He made his way across the Atlantic on a freighter before landing in Boston and flying to Southern California to join his brothers. He settled in Orange County and began working as a cow milker. Shortly after his arrival, he met a Swiss girl named Heidi Thommen, who helped teach him English by playing Scrabble. She would soon become his wife of nearly 62 years.
Rudy and Heidi had two sons, Theodore and Edward, before moving to Enumclaw, Washington in 1968. He always said the lush green pastures and the spectacular view of Mt. Rainier reminded him of his homeland. Over the years, his family grew and so did his business. He and Heidi welcomed two more children, Julia and James, into the family. The dairy that started as just 56 cows and a few acres grew into hundreds of cows and 150 acres of land. He eventually moved the dairy to Eastern Washington, where under his son Ed's stewardship, it has grown to include several thousand cows and a few hundred acres. Rudy’s work on the farm brought him great pride and fulfillment, however he was most proud of his role as a father and a grandfather. He worked tirelessly to prioritize his four children and nine grandchildren, traveling long distances to sit through rainy soccer games, loud dance recitals, and hot summer county fairs. His favorite places to be were with his family, whether that be at holidays or on yearly trips to Lake Chelan.
Rudy valued his friends, heritage and community. He was an active member of the Swiss Sportsmen's Club of Tacoma and sang in the men’s choir, Männerchor Edelweiss. He also found great joy in his connections at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enumclaw. Rudy enjoyed many good times and memories with the church's Polywogs group throughout the years, attending yearly golf trips in Palm Springs and many other activities.
To know Rudy was to know his deep love for life and contentment with the choices he’d made along the way, culminating in a large and loving family who surrounded him with songs and fond memories during his final moments of life. He was known to sit back and say to himself, “Ah, this is the good life.”
Rudy will be remembered for his generosity, his love, his spunk, and his genuine care for people and the animals he raised. He is and will continue to be missed terribly and his legacy will be remembered and carried on for generations to come.
Rudy is survived by his wife Heidi; his four children; Ted, Ed (Heather), Julie (Tim), Jim (Heather); daughter in law Michelle; and his nine grandchildren; Shelby, Olivia, Alena, Madison, Abby, Courtney, Ana, Rudy, and Heidi. He was preceded in death by his four brothers; Theo, Fred, Tom, and Sigi.
A service celebrating his life will be held at the Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enumclaw, Washington at 11 a.m. on September 17, 2022. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, remembrances and donations may be made to the American Heart Association and to the Matt Talbot Center; 2313 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121.