Host family of Riha reunion – From left (back):  Matt Ryan, Trent Reicks, Doug Tosh, Robert Rausch, Alan Hosting, Pat Garvey, Craig Hosting, Bryce Hosting, Madison Phipps, Cody Phipps, Dave Rausch, Luke Ryan, Tom Ryan.; (second row): Hallie Reicks holding Brody, Andrea Rausch, Norma Crist, Mary Hosting, Mary Rausch, Theresa Ryan, Marilyn Garvey, Bev Hosting, Jennifer Fencl, Blair Fencl; (seated): John Bruecken, Diane Bruecken, Eileen Tosh, Bernice Hosting, Sister Jean Ann Rausch, Julie Phipps, Emily Rausch holding Claire, Larry Crist; (cross-legged, on floor): Renee Allard, Bria Rausch, Aubrey Reicks, Peyton Reicks, Rylie Vstecka, Tinlie Vstecka, Kaleb Fencl, Hannah Ryan, Mariah Fencl, Grace Ryan. (Present but not pictured): Susan Rausch, Nick Rausch, Kris and Sara Rausch, Luella Rausch, Art Jenison, Kathleen Chicken, Brian and Alex Rausch, Molly Rausch, Jane Rausch, Alex and Debra Rolfes, Owen Rolfes, and Elliott Rolfes. (Submitted photo)
Host family of Riha reunion – From left (back): Matt Ryan, Trent Reicks, Doug Tosh, Robert Rausch, Alan Hosting, Pat Garvey, Craig Hosting, Bryce Hosting, Madison Phipps, Cody Phipps, Dave Rausch, Luke Ryan, Tom Ryan.; (second row): Hallie Reicks holding Brody, Andrea Rausch, Norma Crist, Mary Hosting, Mary Rausch, Theresa Ryan, Marilyn Garvey, Bev Hosting, Jennifer Fencl, Blair Fencl; (seated): John Bruecken, Diane Bruecken, Eileen Tosh, Bernice Hosting, Sister Jean Ann Rausch, Julie Phipps, Emily Rausch holding Claire, Larry Crist; (cross-legged, on floor): Renee Allard, Bria Rausch, Aubrey Reicks, Peyton Reicks, Rylie Vstecka, Tinlie Vstecka, Kaleb Fencl, Hannah Ryan, Mariah Fencl, Grace Ryan. (Present but not pictured): Susan Rausch, Nick Rausch, Kris and Sara Rausch, Luella Rausch, Art Jenison, Kathleen Chicken, Brian and Alex Rausch, Molly Rausch, Jane Rausch, Alex and Debra Rolfes, Owen Rolfes, and Elliott Rolfes. (Submitted photo)
Submitted by Marilyn Garvey
(paid family reunion notice)


From California to New York, 144 Riha relatives met at the Fort Atkinson Community Center July 23, 2017, to share food and memories. Highlights of the reunion included collecting family recipes for an online Riha cookbook; viewing historical artifacts at the Fort Atkinson Museum next door and appreciating the creative Lego crafts of family members.

Hannah, Grace, Luke and Matt Ryan from Marengo presented a masterpiece of a playground while using family last names. Bingo prizes abounded and a door prize of a hand-loomed rug was won by Erica Riha of New York.

The reunion was hosted by the family members of the Loretta (Riha) and Alex Rausch family. A roast pig and deliciously seasoned beef were the main entrées prepared by Dave and Sue Rausch. Family members enjoyed a potluck dinner known for its kolaches, head cheese, chicken feet and cabbage-wraps. In age, attendees ranged from the youngest, three-month-old Elliott Rolfes, grandson of Bob and Mary Rausch of Waucoma; and to 95-year-old Verena Croatt, wife of the deceased James Croatt.

Travelers came from as far south as Cape Coral, Fla. (Phyllis and Mark Gully); as far west as Carlsbad, Calif. (Paul Riha); and as far east as New York City (Erica Riha).

Frank and Mary (Franzen) Riha raised nine children on the farm on Usher Road outside Waucoma. Frank died in 1959; Mary in 1963. Three siblings of their nine children survive: Barbara Jirak of Fort Atkinson, Leonard Riha of Madison, Wis. and Francis Riha of Waucoma, who still lives on the family farm.

Spouses of other deceased siblings also attended including Verena (Rausch) Croatt, wife of James (deceased) of West Union; Mary (McEnaney) Riha, wife of Matthias (deceased) of Cresco; Shirley (Wichman) Riha, wife of Daniel (deceased) of Waucoma. Family members of Loretta (Riha) and Alex Rausch (both deceased) of Fort Atkinson, and Edward and Agnes (Holthaus) Riha (both deceased) of Decorah, were in attendance.

No one was able to attend from the family of Bill and Angela Brannon (both deceased). The total number of living descendants of Frank and Mary Riha is now over 474.

The family of James and Verena Croatt of West Union will host the 56th Riha Reunion in 2018.