Roger W. Riesgraf, age 92, of Maple Lake, died Sunday, August 28, 2016, at Quiet Oaks Hospice in Saint Cloud surrounded by family members, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Thursday, September 1, at St. Timothy Catholic Church, Maple Lake, with Fr. John Meyer as the Celebrant. Burial will follow at St. Timothy Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday and 9-10 a.m. Thursday, both at Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel, Maple Lake. Parish prayers will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral chapel.
“Grandpa Roger” was a dearly loved and an irreplaceable person in the lives of his family, who cannot put into words how much he will be missed. A kind, gentle soul who always put others first, he is cherished beyond measure as one who loved being with his family at the cabin, golfing with his grandkids, and reading stories to his great-grandchildren.
In Maple Lake Roger served as the Superintendent of Schools for 26 years. He was a leader in the community as well as the school system, serving in the Lions Club and other civic and church activities. He graduated from Mankato State, where Roger met Mary Ann (Mitzi) Dickmeyer of Fairfax, his wife of 60 years. Roger’s career in education also included being a physical education teacher, history teacher, football coach and school bus driver, and principal at both Hackensack and Eden Valley schools.
Roger William Riesgraf was born in Carver, Minnesota, to Mathias J. and Mary C. (Dietz) Riesgraf. A farm boy, he graduated from Chaska High School, and was named to the All-Conference team in football and was voted Most Valuable Player on the baseball team three consecutive seasons at Mankato State. When WWII broke out, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the 788th Amphibian Tractor Battalion. His unit landed soldiers for the first wave invasions of Leyte and Okinawa. He served with distinction and was discharged as a Technician Five with three overseas service bars.
Roger is survived by his children, William of Maple Lake, Elizabeth Riesgraf-Wyman, M.D. (Dick Wyman) of St. Cloud, Patrice (Len) Curtiss of Grand Rapids, Robert (Mary) of Becker, Susan (Dave) Anderson of Maple Grove and Jennifer (Steve) Eichten of Mounds View; 12 grandchildren, Jason, Sarah, Anne, Robert, Daniel, Joseph, Matthew, Christopher, Ellen, Steven, Carlene and Andrew; 11 great-grandchildren, Zachary, Julia, Mary, Luke, Eve, Henry, Ellie, Elias, Benjamin, Abigail and Esther; brother, Matt (Margo) of New Brighton; and sister-in-law, Emmy of Kalamazoo, MI. He is preceded in death by his parents, Mathias and Mary Riesgraf; wife, Mitzi on June 18, 2010; sister, Marion Lano; brothers, Jim, Robert and Francis; and a stillborn sister.
The casket bearers will be Dan and Joe Curtiss, Matt and Chris Riesgraf, Robert and Jason Wyman, Steve Anderson and Andrew Eichten. The lectors will be Sarah Sprengeler and Annie Gucinski and the gift bearers will be Carly Eichten and Ellen Anderson. Arrangements are entrusted with Dingmann Funeral Care Burial & Cremation Services of Maple Lake.