Ronald Charles Kath -- Rochester

January 28, 2019

Ronald Charles Kath, 77, of Rochester, died suddenly on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, at his home.

Ron was born on July 6, 1941, to William and Mina (Hoppe) Kath. He grew up on the family farm located a few miles west of Stewartville. He attended schools in Stewartville and graduated from Stewartville High School in 1961.

After high school, Ron worked for Foss Plumbing in Stewartville. He served in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1966, including a tour of duty in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966. Among the awards he earned while in the army were the Good Conduct Medal, the Sharpshooter (Rifle) Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze service stars. After returning home from Vietnam, Ron married the love of his life, Paula Freytag. They were married for more than 52 years.

Ron worked in maintenance for the Rochester Public School District for more than 30 years. Among the schools he worked at were Mayo High School, Elton Hills, Churchill, and Holmes Elementary Schools. He retired from the school district in 1999.

On May 2, 2013, when Rochester had a record-breaking 15-inch snowfall, Ron collapsed in front of his home and when found by his neighbor, Bob Hughes, Ron no longer had a heartbeat or pulse. Bob started CPR on Ron while his son called 911. Due to the heroic efforts of Bob, the police, the paramedics, and Mayo Clinic, Ron survived, and we were so fortunate to have Ron with us for an additional 5½ years.

Ron was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting, fishing, and camping. He had a hilarious and sarcastic sense of humor which was inherited by his children. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, from minor home repairs to remodeling an entire house. First and foremost though, Ron was very much a family man. His family was his biggest pride and joy and the most important thing in the world to him. Besides his wife, Paula, the loves of his life were his children, Dawn and Lisa; and his grandchildren, Amanda, Davis, Aaron and Noah “Hammie.”

Ron is survived by his wife, Paula of Rochester; daughters, Dawn Doherty of Rochester and Lisa Gray of Rogers, Ark.; and his grandchildren, Amanda, Davis and Aaron Gray of Rogers, Ark., and Noah Doherty of Rochester. Ron is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and nine brothers and sisters. He was the last surviving child of William and Mina.

The memorial Mass for Ron will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home, with the Rev. Russell Scepaniak officiating. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. prior to the service, in the chapel.

In lieu of flowers, Ron’s family will direct any memorials to his favorite charities.

Online condolences are welcome at www.mackenfuneralhome.com.

Update hourly