Ralph Anthony Schoofs

On May 10, 2017, Ralph Anthony Schoofs passed on peacefully at the age of 89. Patricia, his wife of 65 years, and several of his children, attended him.

Ralph was born Aug. 5, 1927, in Kewaskum, to Joseph and Catherine (Becker) Schoofs.

Growing up with 10 siblings on a small family farm taught him the importance of community, family and humor, and nurtured his spiritual relationship with God. His family survived the depression with food and income from a small apple orchard, crops for the cannery, and marketed their farm milk with a delivery service to Kewaskum homes. Ralph liked to talk about driving the milk delivery truck at age 12 — “a good excuse to be late for school.”

After military service in the second World War, Ralph earned a degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University.

Ralph married Patricia Kirchner, who shared his spiritual path and life values, in 1951. Their married life brought them to the hamlet of Hubertus, where they were busy raising six children and were active members of Saint Hubert’s Parish. Ralph worked at Wisconsin Electric, was a member of the Knights of Columbus and gave his time to the local Boy Scout troop

In 1972, Ralph and Patricia purchased 100 acres in Erin Township, where they built a home and began a four-decade-long conservation project: planting trees and creating meadows, digging a pond, and returning biological diversity to the eroded farmland. Their efforts became a family legacy in 2015 when the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust protected a portion of the land from development and created the Schoofs Preserve — open to the public. In 1978, Ralph and Patricia moved to Sand Lake near Virginia, Minnesota, for Ralph to work at Minnesota Power. In 1993, after Ralph’s retirement, they returned to their land in Erin Township and built a new home. They became active members of St. Mary of the Hill parish. Ralph lives on in the memory of many loved ones. He is survived by his spouse, Patricia; his brother, Allen; his children, Jeanne (Dan Smith), Robert, Andy (Bonnie Schmidt), Atina (Martin Diffley), Daniel and Catherine (Jim Brown); 16 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

He will always be remembered for his affectionate and fun nature, his commitment to God and family, his love of polkas, singing, dancing, sweets, his birthday laugh, and his tendency to see the positive in others.

The family gives special thanks to the many caregivers at Villa Loretto and Villa Rosa for the extraordinary care they provided to Ralph.

A visitation and mass will be held Monday, May 22, 2017, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, Holy Hill. Visitation will be at 1 p.m. at the Chapel of St. Therese, level 2, followed by Mass at 2:30 p.m. After Mass, there will a burial of cremains at Saint Augustine Cemetery, and then a meal reception served at 4:30 p.m. at St. Mary of the Hill parish center.

Those who would like to honor Ralph’s sweet tooth are welcome to bring a dessert to the memorial meal.

Ralph’s family invites you to visit the Schoofs Preserve in memory of Ralph to hike, pray, bird watch, or cross-country ski.