In Loving Memory of Mary Rathgaber Age 103 Years of Roblin, Manitoba


Passed Away Peacefully Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at Crocus Court Personal Care Home Roblin, Manitoba

 I am including her story which appeared in the Roblin paper a few years ago when she was still in her apartment. 

Click here for the link to the article.


My Father was born June 3, 1887, the fifth child of eight children of Kasper and Mary Rathgeber.  He married Mary Markosky born July 19, 1910, the 3rd child of five children of John and Edith Markosky.  They had two children Irene and Lorne. To begin, prior to 1912, he established the first telephone exchange that he owned and operated with the assistance of the Northern Electric Telephone Company for over forty years.  The subscriber list of over 125 telephones served the surrounding areas of Mac Nutt, Zorra and Landestreu.  He was the only repair man for the local and country telephone lines, as well as his maintenance of the phones and cable line that ran to the office.  Several operators were hired over the years. Our home was built in Mac Nutt in 1912.  The home and the telephone office that was a separate building were heated with wood and coal.  Lighting was supplied with many coal oil lamps and later the gas lamps were acquired before electricity came to Mac Nutt.  Our family would cut the wood on local farms, hauled it home, seasoned the wood and later cut, chopped, piled and a generous load was hauled daily to the house and office.  Later on oil furnaces served for heat.  Our home was an open door welcome to everyone who came to visit. In 1912, my father bought his brother Jacob Rathgeber’s grocery and dry good store. Groceries and dry good orders were taken by the salesman who came from Yorkton and then telephoned the Mac Donald Consolidated Warehouse with the orders.  The completed orders were sent out with the merchandise via the C.N.R. railway to Mac Nutt.  Mr. Frank Rupp was the drayman who met the train and with his dray and horses delivered the freight to the various stores.  Groceries of flour, sugar, tea, salt and salt blocks for the cattle, cereals, toiletries. etc., were the main items.  Dry goods included work clothes, socks, underwear, boots, shoes, shirts, gloves, mittens, etc.  Dad sold the store to his nephew John Kendel, his sister Kate’s son. In 1922 he acquired the local agricultural Massey Harris Dealership for new implements and parts for rakes, discs, cultivators, tillers, tractors, and binders that were sold to the many farmers around Mac Nutt.  A thank you of signature dinners plates were given to customers of the grocery and dry goods store and designer calendars were given later when the Massey Harry business was included. He built the first small community hall and bought the first player piano from Winnipeg for the hall.  He would rent black and white movies and then show them in the hall and surrounding halls or schools at a twenty-five cent admission per adult ticket, children were free.  He owned and operated the projection equipment for the movies.  His model “T” car was later replaced with a model “A” car that he used to travel around the towns and country side with the equipment.  This community hall burnt down and the only thing saved was the piano that he gave to his sister Kate Kendel.  Dad called many square dances in MacNutt, Calder, Togo, and Roblin.  He was a good dancer and won prizes dancing with the ladies in the waltz, fox-trot and others.  He always had several ladies with him when they went to these dances as he was a bachelor for many years. Beginning in the 1940’s he collected the assessment taxes for the Churchbridge Municipality communities for years.  Mac Nutt was in this municipality. My father was instrumental in bringing electricity into Mac Nutt.  He helped with the planning of the street lighting and took care of the lighting for many, many years. During the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s he bought and shipped cattle from the local farmers to the Union Stockyards in Winnipeg.  Sometimes he would make a few dollars after costs and other times he would lose money. In the depression years Dad and Mom kept cows that were milked for bottling and delivering to the homes for seven cents per quart, four cents a pint, twenty-five cents for a pint of cream and twenty-five cents for three pounds of home-made cottage cheese.  The excess cream was sent to the creamery or we would make homemade butter.  Large gardens were grown for our own use and shared with other people that had needs. Dad served the community in many and various ways as the town overseer, councilor, a school trustee and a volunteer fire fighter for many years.  He was instrumental in getting and helping to build the skating and curling rinks and another new larger community hall. He organized many sports days, ball tournaments, curling and hockey tournaments, and fund-raising events in Mac Nutt.  He was known to be the best ball player and loved the game.He was an auctioneer for people in the surrounding area.  His payment was fifteen dollars for a two-day sale was all he charged and often losing his voice before the sale ended.

Dad and Mom were honest, kind, hard-working people ready and willing to offer their help to others

I’m including an update of the Rathgeber family as of 2011:

George – Father – died November 1st, 1970 (83 years)

Lorne – Son – died January 8th, 2001 (66 years)

Mary – Mother – at 102 years(2012) resides in the Roblin Crocus Court Personal Care Centre

Irene – Daughter – married Edwin Haberstock and lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta.