July 9, 2016 was a rainy Sunday but that did not daunt 119 Riha relatives from enjoying hugs and laughs at the Waucoma Event Center.
The reunion, hosted by the Edward and Agnes Riha family, was one of the largest in recent memory. Three siblings of the nine children of the Frank and Mary Riha family of Waucoma (1919-1963) survive: Barbara Jirak of Fort Atkinson, Leonard Riha of Carlsbad, Calif. and Francis Riha of Waucoma, who still lives on the family farm.
Family members gathered around two large display boards of pictures for a memorial to Mildred (Millie), wife of Leonard Riha who passed away last November in Madison, Wis.
More recently, Rose Brannon of Milwaukee, Wis., wife of Phillip, deceased, also passed away, causing family members to make plans to attend her funeral later this month.
Though the weather was far from friendly, there was plenty of good cheer, good food, happy children under-feet and precious memories to share. Family members enjoyed a potluck dinner known for its kolaches, head cheese and cabbage-wraps.
In age, attendees ranged from the youngest, 17-month-old Easton Uhlenhake, great-grandson of Barbara (Riha) and Jim Jirak to 94-year-old Verena Croatt, wife of the deceased James Croatt.
Travelers came from as far south as Cape Coral, Fla., (Phyllis Gully—Phyllis is a granddaughter of Frank and Mary Riha); and as far west as Carlsbad, Calif., where Leonard Riha currently lives with his son, Paul.
Frank and Mary (Franzen) Riha raised nine children on the farm on Usher Road outside Waucoma. Frank died in 1959; Mary in 1963.
Relatives of other deceased siblings also attended including Verena (Rausch) Croatt, wife of James (deceased) of West Union; Agnes (Holthaus) Riha, wife of Edward (deceased) of Decorah; Shirley (Wichman) Riha, wife of Daniel (deceased) of Waucoma; and members from the families of Loretta of Fort Atkinson (husband Alex Rausch), both deceased, and Angela of Milwaukee, Wis. (husband William Brannon) also both deceased.
Mary (McEnaney) Riha, wife of Matthias (deceased) of Cresco recently underwent surgery and could not attend. The total number of living descendants of Frank and Mary Riha is now over 450.
The family of Alex and Loretta (Riha) Rausch will host the 55th Riha Reunion and have already set the date for July 23, 2017.