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April 20, 1932 ~ July 29, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
Heinrich “Henry” Ratz, 91, was delivered into the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on July 29, 2023. He passed away in his sleep after battling COPD and congestive heart failure for several years.
Henry was born April 20, 1932, in Deutsch Sitzk, Poland, to Martha (Krueger) and Wilhelm Ratz. He was the oldest of three children. His earliest memories were of growing up and surviving World War II. After the war his family got into West Germany. Relatives in the US sponsored the family and they immigrated to Whitefish in June of 1949.
He got a job working with the Great Northern Railroad on a track crew. He learned English from his Italian crew chief and the crew of primarily Japanese American rail workers. He became a very good phonetic speller. He was drafted into the US Army in 1952 and was deployed to Korea in 1953. He became a naturalized US citizen while in Korea in May of 1954. He returned to Whitefish after his service and continued working for Great Northern Railroad.
Henry married Adelheid “Heidi” Ratz on April 7, 1956, and settled in Whitefish shortly after. He then began working as a custodian with the Whitefish School District eventually ending up at Muldown Elementary School where many former students remember him to this day. In 1977 he took a job with the City of Whitefish in the Street Department from where he retired in 1997.
He was a longtime member of St. Peter Lutheran Church and was involved with many activities at the church. He was a first class tinkerer who enjoyed woodworking and helping his wife maintain their vast flower and vegetable garden.
Henry is survived by his sons, Nathan (Lisa) Ratz and Peter (Teri) Ratz; grandchildren, Emily and Sarah; and Hannah, Nicholas and Elijah; and his brother and sister-in-law, Otto and Deanna Ratz.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Frieda, and his beloved wife of 63 years, Heidi. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the North Valley Food Bank.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 3rd, 2023, at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Whitefish. A visitation will start at 10 a.m. After services a light lunch will be served at the church. Burial will be at Glacier Memorial Gardens at 1:30 p.m.
Austin Funeral and Cremation services in Whitefish is caring for Henry’s family. Henry’s family sends thanks to Senescence Care St. Thomas House and Big Sky Palliative and Hospice for the invaluable care they provided