Emanuel W. Rothe, 94, passed away on Jan. 13, 2020, at Windsong at Northridge in Greeley, Colo., which is located on property that he had farmed for many years earlier in his life.
He was born Dec. 20, 1925 in Loveland, Colo. to Henry and Katie Rothe. He moved to the Lasalle area when his parents started farming and then west of Greeley, where he remained for the majority of his life. He was drafted into the army at 18 years old and served into the 89th Infantry Division during the allied invasion of Germany in World War II. After several harrowing battles, including a nighttime crossing of the Rhine River, his ability to speak German was noticed and earned him a promotion to translator. This position was vital in keeping him out of the fray during the march on Berlin, but also presented other dangers, including being “the canary in the coal mine” as he was sent in first to see if German towns had truly surrendered. He often stated that he saw enough conflict during the war to last a lifetime and didn’t want to see any more.
When he returned from the war he was determined to become a successful farmer and provider for his family, and he did just that. With his brothers Harry and Elmer as partners, his innovative ideas (being one of the first to use center-pivot sprinklers), knowledge of water rights, hard work and pure determination, Rothe Brothers became one of the largest and successful farms in the area and collected many awards for their bumper harvests.
Manuel met his wife, Margaret Brunz, through the Luther League. The two married at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Greeley on Feb. 9, 1947. They were married for over 60 years and raised their two children, Ronald Dean and Carol Jean. They loved to socialize, play cards and often travel with their friends and family from the neighborhood, affectionately known as “the Gossip Group.”
He spent many happy years farming west of Greeley raising his family. He loved to invite family and friends to his ranch at Redfeathers, fishing, riding around on the 4-wheeler and on horseback only under duress. He took several fishing trips to Alaska and Canada with Harry, Ron, son-in-law George and grandson Shane.
He loved to spoil his grandkids, picking them up from school, attending sporting events and recitals, and prioritizing their education, despite that he was forced to drop out himself in ninth grade. He and Margaret moved to Carbondale, Colo. at one point to be closer to two of his grandkids, and often stated that was the happiest time of his life.
He married Kathryn Pendergraft on June 6, 2010 at the Greeley Country Club, and soon embarked on adventures around the world together when not enjoying life in Greeley with their dogs Barbie and Sally. They also loved spending time at their cabin in Estes Park, where Manuel was able to fish and enjoy the wildlife.
Kind, generous and constantly engaging, he never met a stranger and made new friends instantly all across the globe. He was definitely a memorable character, blessed with the gift of gab and witty quips. He was always running into old acquaintances everywhere, from the line at Wendy’s on the way to California or in a small ice cream shop in tiny Overton, Nev., where he looked across the room, saw people in farm caps, and of course, knew them from Wiggins.
Wherever Manuel is now, we are sure he is with the family he loved so much and will be raising just a little bit of caine there to make things interesting, as only he could.
He was preceded in death by wife Margaret, son Ron, daughter Baby Girl Rothe, siblings Elmer Rothe, Harry Rothe, Wilma Stromberger and Florence Schmidt.
He is survived by his wife Kathryn, daughter Carol Pucak and her husband George of Carbondale; and brother Lee Rothe; three grandchildren - Megan Pucak of San Diego, Matthew Pucak and fiancé Mimi McLaughlin of Denver, and Shane Rothe and fiancé Serena Himmelfarb of Amherst, Mass.; Kathryn’s daughter Kerrie Fountain and her husband Darin, her sons Mjnari Richards of Atlanta, Njahni Richards of San Antonio and Nkari Richards of Sugar Land, Texas; and Nkari’s son Nikolai Richards of Sugar Land, Texas.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Sat., January 18 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1800 21st Ave. Interment will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens. For those wishing to send flowers, it is requested that they be in his favorite color of red and sent to Adamson Life Celebration Home.