Obituary of Hugh M Rettkowski
Hugh Michael Rettkowski of Othello, WA passed away at home on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Born in Spokane on April 5, 1949 to Eugene and Hazel (Fogle) Rettkowski;
he spent his early years on a dry land farm in Reardan, WA. He and his family moved to the Columbia Basin in 1961.
He graduated Othello High School in 1967 and attended Columbia Basin College, receiving a degree in Agribusiness. He worked in agriculture all his life for several different Othello businesses, gaining friends and experiences all the while helping his dad farm. When his father passed away in 1983, he took care of the farm and his mother until she decided to move into Othello and off the family farm. He was a great big brother and fiercely loved his brother and sister.
In 1985, Hugh met the love of his life, Barbara Stevenson and her 2 young daughters. Hugh couldn’t resist the adorable 3-year-old with curly blond hair, running up to him and asking if he would be her daddy, or the 7-year-old that climbed up in his lap and told him she wanted him to be her daddy too. For the next few years while Barbara finished college, there were a lot of weekend trips to visit “his girls.” He taught them to love hiking, camping, fishing, and the county fair. Hugh and Barbara celebrated their long-awaited wedding and the birth of their own little girl in 1989.
Hugh was an amazing example of kindness, love, humility, and service. He never met a stranger, and he was always helping friends and neighbors in whatever needed to be done. He valued love, friendship, and hard work above all else and this is the legacy he taught his children and grandchildren. He was the best partner, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, and father any of us could have asked for.
From the age of 17, he started volunteering for the Adams County Fair with his father and he has continued that legacy ever since. Hugh was given 2 weeks of vacation every year, he spent one week hunting with old friends and one week volunteering at the fair. He spent many hours working on the sheep barn and teaching children the value of animal ownership. In his later years he and his youngest daughter raised lambs together for kids to show.
Hugh was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. He beat it and was in remission for many years. Unfortunately, the medication used to win one battle eventually caused a new cancer that spread vigorously. He always bragged about how good his nurses were and how they took such good care of him. He became a big flirt, and it was fun to see. “His girls” now include everyone who has helped take care of him in the last 13 years. Thank you for your support.
The last year and a half has been hard on everyone who loved him. In the end, he was ready. Hugh knew that it was time to say goodbye. He closed his eyes and fell asleep, when he opened them again, he was with his beloved parents smiling down on a life well lived.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughters, Kathleen Foster, Amber Martinez (Tony) and Jessica Rettkowski. He is also survived by Kathleen’s daughters Lily, Jeannie and Lauren; and Amber and Tony’s sons Danny, Alex, Noah and Elijah and his sister, Sue Willard (Bob) of Spokane and his brother, Pat Rettkowski (Bonnie) of Warden.
The family has created a book of memories and stories for anyone who wants to contribute. For those that are far away and don’t have easy access to the book, Steven’s Funeral Home will have an account set up to accept correspondence and they will forward it to the family.
A private graveside service will be held July 17th at 10 am for family and close friends. There will be a remembrance service in September, with time and day to be determined.
We ask that instead of flowers, you send a donation to your local Cancer Center.
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