Willi Ristau

Willi Harold Ristau

1937 - 2022

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Obituary of Willi Harold Ristau

With profound sadness we announce the peaceful passing of Willi Harold Ristau, on November 6th, 2022 in the care of St. Mary’s Hospital.   Born 85 years ago in Latvia, of ethnic German parents, Willi emigrated to Canada with his extended family in 1957.  He is survived by his loving wife Magda Marie (Krauleidis), his dear sister Joan Hankins (George), and Ilga Meurer (Erich). 


Willi cherished his loving family, including children Bettina Cook (Ian), Gudrun Owens (Jim), Christine Ristau (Darryl), Harold Ristau (Elise), grand children Darren, Ryan (Nicole) Stephen (Sarah), Katrina, Zachary, Christian, Rachel, Simon, Katelyn, Markus, Luke, Matthais, and great granddaughter Aubrey.


In addition to his close cousins Ingrid (Harry) and Eddy (Dorothy), his extended family included many nieces, nephews and relations, both here and in Germany,


He was predeceased by his parents, Adolf and Martha Ristau, siblings Gertrude, Leonhard, Adolf, Else and Helmut.


Wiili’s early life with his family was very difficult, fleeing the horrors of the second world war, ending up as refugees, first in East Germany, then in the West with nothing but their personal belongings.  The extended family arrived in Canada in 1957, and Willi wasted no time starting his journey to build a life for himself what he affectionately and regularly referred to as “this great country of Canada”.  After joining Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, which became the center of his strong Christian faith, he fell in love and married Magda, celebrating 63 years of marriage together this September. 


Starting in 1964, he established a successful construction and land development business, W. Ristau Construction Limited.  His relentless work ethic never stopped, he was still involved making decisions in the business until very recently. 


Willi was a tremendous people person and this trait, along with his business success, allowed him to share with the community both financially and with tireless personal involvement.   His commitment included being a long-time leader at Bethel Evangelical Church and the German Canadian Business and Professional Association.  An additional sampling of past involvement included the Waterloo Region Home Builders, Christkindl Market, City of Kitchener Heritage Committee and Habitat for Humanity.


Willi loved to spend time with his family at his cottage on Lake Huron, his time with Magda in Florida at their Madeira Beach condo, and as a farmer at heart, puttering in the gardens and maintenance at the farm. 


Willi was the master of the “group picture”!  Every family event and celebration (and there were many), he would call everyone to come together for that all important shot.  This love of the group picture was a reflection of who he was as a person, a passionate, gregarious, larger than life man who lived to celebrate all that life had to offer through all his years on earth.  He instilled in his family a strong Christian faith, the importance of self-reliance, the rewards of hard work and compassion for those less fortunate.  


A special thank you to the Staff of St. Mary’s Hospital, Kitchener (Emergency Dept, 5th Floor and 4th Floor) for their excellent care over the last 2 weeks of his life.


Willi was confident that through his faith, the loving arms of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ await to hold him in their embrace.


“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” - John 3:36


Willi’s Family will receive relatives and friends at the Erb and Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St S., Waterloo, on Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  The Funeral Service will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church, 47 Sheldon Ave, Kitchener, on Friday November 11th, 12:00 noon, with a lunch reception to follow before the intenment service at Parkview Cemetery, Waterloo.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bethel Lutheran Church, at www.erbgood.com or by calling 519.745.8445 or by following the instructions in the link: https://www.bethelkitchener.ca/offering/



2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Erb & Good Family Funeral Home
171 King Street South
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Funeral Service

12:00 pm
Friday, November 11, 2022
Bethel Lutheran Church
47 Sheldon Ave. N
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada