Catherine was the sole surviving member of the large Hoeffken family raised on West Cleveland Avenue in Belleville, IL. She graduated from the Academy of Notre Dame in 1940 and served in the U.S. Navy (Naval Reserves) as a WAVE during World War II from 1943 to 1945. After the war, she married another Belleville native, Elmer L. “Dutch” Reifschneider. Together, they raised five children on their family farm south of Belleville.
Catherine was a lifetime member of St. Peter’s Cathedral Parish, Belleville, IL. She was a past president and member of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Auxiliary since 1976, and she was a volunteer with the American Red Cross for 20 years. She also volunteered for numerous community charity activities. Always a good hostess, she coordinated her high school reunion gatherings, most notably her 70th Academy of Notre Dame reunion in 2010 and a smaller gathering of the 75th reunion in 2015.
Catherine enjoyed traveling and was able to visit Europe and Hawaii with her husband before his death at age 63. Visits with her daughter Jean took her to Gunnison, CO, in the late 1980’s, which led to her spending summers there for 20 years along the beautiful Gunnison River.
Always an optimist, she survived a serious struggle with cancer in 2012 and managed to live at home by herself until recently.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Elmer, whom she married on September 4, 1946, and who died on October 10, 1984; her parents, Henry F. and Emma, nee Stark, Hoeffken; five brothers, Brother Theodore Hoeffken, S.M., Raymond, Elmer, Sylvester, and Eugene “Utch” Hoeffken; and four sisters, Rita (Walter) Gundlach, Martha (Casper) Yoch, Lydia (Fred) Vangenhen, and Henrietta (John) Bauer.
Surviving are her five children, Robert L. (Nancy) Reifschneider of Belleville, IL,
Karen (Andrew) Jackson of Grafton, IL,
James C. (Donna) Reifschneider of Smithton, IL,
Jean (David) Lensch of Eagle Creek, OR,
and Louis G. (Anne) Reifschneider of Normal, IL,
nine grandchildren, Emily (Scott) Morris, Jennifer (Matthew) LaFontaine,
Timothy (Angie) Stumpf, Aaron Reifschneider, Julie Reifschneider,
Elizabeth Reifschneider, Ryan (Debra) Reifschneider,
Matthew Lensch, and Jacob Lensch;
a brother-in-law, John Young;
a sister-in-law, Ceely Hoeffken Boden;
and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hincke Residence for Retired Priests in the Belleville Diocese or in the form of Masses. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2016, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, and from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at St. Peter’s Cathedral Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.
Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11, 2016, at St. Peter’s Cathedral Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Msgr. John Myler officiating. Burial will follow at Green Mount Catholic Cemetery, Belleville, IL.
Lou, my deepest sympathy is extended to you and your family. Catherine was a lovely neighbor to Laverne and I in Gunnison for many years. She was a joy to know.
Jim Westbrook, Bay City, Tx, 77414
To Catherine Reifschneider
You hear many people say that Miss Cassy is at peace now. But for as long as I’ve know her she has been at peace. Peace with herself and at peace with her surroundings. Miss Cassy lived a very peaceful life.
I can remember for the past 25 years that I have been privileged to know her that whenever I would go in the back door of the house she would be sitting there on her couch. The house was always very calm and quiet, free from noise except for the occasional John Deere that would go by her sun room window. That is just the way the house was even during family get-togethers and I can remember many. To me visiting Cassy and the farm was like a tonic that you could take that would put you into a different state of mind, one of tranquility.
She instilled this since of concord and harmony into her family as well. The family get-togethers and the traditional Christmas eves were times of peace, joy and love that I won’t forget.
Unfortunately I will no longer have to warn people to not get into a poker game with her. But, I will probably continue to tell the story of her getting an oil change for her car when she was in assisted living.
As a WAVE she did her part for peace then too: to end war and conflict as every one of her generation did and we respect and thank them all for that sacrifice.
It’s a sad day in my life that I again have to say good bye to someone that I have loved and respected for so long. Thank you so much for letting me be part of your family. You will always be loved and never forgotten. Andy
Andrew Jackson, Grafton, IL, 62037
I was very sorry to hear that your Mother had passed away. I went to Althoff High School with you. Please accept my condolence to you and your family. Nay God Bless You All.
Linda Sue Endres, Nasville, Tenn., 37204
Dear Karen & Andy,
We are so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Rusty remembers your mom as a very gracious lady as he visited the farm to look for snakes! We are in Michigan for the summer or we would have given you our hugs, love and prayers in person. Just remember that she will be with you always. We know that our moms are! 🙂
Rusty & Sandy
Rusty & Sandy Wagner, Millstadt, IL, 62260
Lou: Please know that the faculty and staff in the Department of Technology are thinking about you and your family. From what I have read and heard, your mom was an amazing person who made a positive impact on many people. It sounds like she lived her life to the fullest, and our world is better because of her.
Ted Branoff, Chair, Department of Technology, Normal, Illinois, 61790-5100