Host family of Riha reunion -- From left (back row): Jereme Miller, Al (Tony) Spalla, Ron Hackman, Jo Marie Riha, Stephanie Griffen, Jennifer Melbye, Wade Fisher, Karla Puffer, Jodi Riha, John Foreman, Melissa and Brad Milbrath holding Eleanor Milbrath; (seated): Shanda Miller, Carol Spalla, Rosemary Hackman, Frank Riha, Agnes Riha, Lori Fisher, Gene Riha, Betty Foreman holding Raela Riha; (kneeling): Tristan Miller, Annabelle Melbye, Thor Melbye, Carrisa Miller, Kate Griffen, Emma Griffin, Jadeyn, Brenda and Jason Mueterthies  holding Alexis Mueterthies; (cross-legged on floor): Carter Milbrath and Aliya Miller. (Submitted photo)
Host family of Riha reunion -- From left (back row): Jereme Miller, Al (Tony) Spalla, Ron Hackman, Jo Marie Riha, Stephanie Griffen, Jennifer Melbye, Wade Fisher, Karla Puffer, Jodi Riha, John Foreman, Melissa and Brad Milbrath holding Eleanor Milbrath; (seated): Shanda Miller, Carol Spalla, Rosemary Hackman, Frank Riha, Agnes Riha, Lori Fisher, Gene Riha, Betty Foreman holding Raela Riha; (kneeling): Tristan Miller, Annabelle Melbye, Thor Melbye, Carrisa Miller, Kate Griffen, Emma Griffin, Jadeyn, Brenda and Jason Mueterthies holding Alexis Mueterthies; (cross-legged on floor): Carter Milbrath and Aliya Miller. (Submitted photo)

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.