Helmut Ristau
Helmut Ristau

Obituary of Helmut Ristau

To watch the recording of Helmut's service, please click here.

After a brief and sudden illness Helmut passed away peacefully with his son at his side on Sunday, January 3, 2021 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Kitchener, Ontario. He was 81 years old. Beloved husband of 52 years to Gloria (predeceased 2014). Loving father to David and his wife Deb and Linda and her husband Grant. Cherished grandpa to Jake (Ami), Mark, and Nicolas. Predeceased by his parents Adolf and Martha and siblings Else, Gertrude, Leo and Adolf. He will be greatly missed by his other siblings Willi, Ilga, and Joan and his many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was born in Latvia into a German-speaking Lutheran family. They were driven from their home during WWII – first to Poland and then to East Germany. In 1954 most of the family escaped to West Germany where they stayed until 1957. In that year his parents decided to immigrate to Canada with him and three of his siblings (to join his brother Leo).

His first steady job after immigrating to Canada was as a farmhand on a family farm just outside of Waterloo in Wilmot Township. He subsequently learned his lifelong trade as a carpenter while still working at the farm. He fell in love with the farmer’s daughter, married in 1961, and eventually he built their own home beside the farm.

His work as a carpenter meant many long days and often travel for his craft but it keenly demonstrated his ingenuity, perseverance, and commitment to quality workmanship. When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed most being outside in nature, taking long drives to discover the countryside, and camping with friends and family. He always had a roaring fire going at the campsite started from the wood he’d saved from disposal at the construction site.

He was of strong hand and broad shoulders but soft-spoken and had a generous heart. His commitment to his family, friends, and faith were unwavering. The gifts of his time and talents were freely given and he provided inspiration to all who knew him.

We will deeply miss him, but we know that he is with us in our hearts forever.

Thanks to the staff of the Hagey Neighbourhood at University Gates LTC for their care of Helmut during his residence with them. Thanks as well to the ER and 5th floor doctors and nurses of St. Mary’s Hospital for their efforts and compassion.

The family will receive relatives and friends during visitation at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St. S., Waterloo on Friday, January 8, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. To attend the visitation, please wear a face mask, observe physical distancing, and RSVP to the funeral home by calling 519-745-8445 to reserve a time. A private family funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Relatives and friends may join the family in the livestream of Helmut’s service and a link is available on Helmut’s obituary page at www.erbgood.com.

A private family internment will take place at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, St. Agatha.

Condolences for the family and donations to Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Agatha or Community Care Concepts may be arranged through the funeral home at www.erbgood.com or 519-745-8445.