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With her family surrounding her, Claudia Marie (Zwiefelhofer) Harings, 93, passed away on Monday, July 10 at Aggie’s Country Living care facility in Eagleton.
Claudia was born on May 6, 1930 to the late Charles and Leona (Stoffel) Zwiefelhofer on the family farm in Tilden. She was the oldest of six children. According to her Dad and Mom, she was quite the climber as a toddler, and they needed a second set of eyes to watch her so she wouldn’t climb a tree or scale a fence and “escape” while they did chores. As she grew, she became a reliable member of the milking crew (all milking done by hand, back then). In fact, she bragged about her “milking muscles” for decades after she moved off the farm.
After several years of attending the nearby one-room schoolhouse, Claudia made the move to St. Peter’s Catholic Grade School in Tilden. She continued her education at McDonell Central Catholic High School in Chippewa Falls (Class of 1948) and, despite coming home every weekend to help with chores, she maintained an active social life by participating on the school newspaper and yearbook staffs; Homecoming and Prom courts; Pep Club; was Class Secretary-Treasurer and an Honor Student. (We also discovered recently, after finding her senior yearbook, that her nickname in those days was “Zwiefy” – a fact her children would have had a lot of fun with if we had found this out sooner.) After graduating, she put her strong math skills to work as a teller at Northwestern State Bank in Chippewa Falls.
A handsome baseball player for the Tilden Tigers, John Harings, caught her eye and they married at St. Peter’s Church on Oct. 23, 1951. They had seven children together, and she was the consummate “Mom.” Overflowing flower and vegetable gardens. Fresh baked treats after school. Handmade dresses and, sometimes unfortunately, slightly off-kilter haircuts. She was selfless to a fault and tireless in her devotion to her family. Once a ll of her kids were in school, she returned to working outside the home, first as a salesclerk at JC Penney and later going back to school to be a nurse’s aide – the perfect job for someone as attuned to other people’s needs as she was.
Claudia battled her way back from breast cancer, open-heart surgery, a skull fracture and brain bleed, and showed those around her what toughness and resilience really look like. Relaxing and moving slowly were not really in her DNA. She was always on the move; even walking the track at the Chippewa Falls YMCA every day until she hit the 500-mile mark and got her name inscribed on the Silver Sneakers wall for her accomplishment. She had the sweetest smile and disposition but would happily take your money playing cards.
She was a long-time member of Notre Dame Catholic Church; was a member of the church’s Parish Council of Catholic Women and distributed communion. She had many life-long friends, including her buddies in her card club that met for nearly 50 years. She had a very special bond with her four feisty, fun-loving sisters.
Claudia is survived by four daughters, Debbie Harings, Julie (Bill) Berg and Pattie Harings all of Chippewa Falls, and Shelley (Gerry) Uchytil of Hudson; three sons, Dave (Linda) of Racine, Tony of Milwaukee and Todd (Wendy) of Eagan, MN; 12 grandchildren, Misty (Dayton) Behnke, Jill Harings, Melinda (Scott) Schmidt, Tina (Ryan) Parker, Tyler Berg, John Uchytil, Grace Uchytil, Charlie Harings, Margaret Harings, Gretchen (Grey) Hamilton, Grant Draper and Will Harings; eight great-grandchildren; sisters and brother-in-law, Charlene Steinmetz, Rita Tanzer, Jane Klee and Yvonne (Duane) Zwiefelhofer; sister-in-law Geri Harings; as well as many nieces, nephews, family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John; parents, Charles and Leona Zwiefelhofer; brother and sister-in-law, Eugene and Annabelle Zwiefelhofer; brothers-in-law, Frank Steinmetz, Marvin Tanzer and Richard Klee; and great-granddaughter, Paige Behnke.
Funeral services will be held at 11 AM at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Chippewa Falls. Rev. Brandon Guenther will be celebrant of the funeral mass. Entombment will be in Hope Mausoleum in Chippewa Falls.
Friends may call from 4 to 7 P.M. Tuesday, July 18 and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Horan Funeral Home in Chippewa Falls. There will be a Christian vigil service at 6:15 PM Tuesday at the funeral home.
Claudia’s family would like to offer a special thank you to the kind and caring staff at Aggie’s Country Living for taking such wonderful care of her during the final few months of her life.
AFTER SERVICE NOTICE:
Funeral services for Claudia M. Harings were held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 19 at Notre Dame Church in Chippewa Falls.
Rev. Brandon Guenther was celebrant of the funeral Mass assisted by Mass server, Mike Korger. Entombment was in Hope Mausoleum in Chippewa Falls
Music during the Mass was provided by Amanda Schafer and Sue Van de Loo. Readings were given by Misty Behnke and Charlie Harings. Gift bearers were Margaret and Will Harings and Grace Uchytil.
Casket bearers were Misty Behnke, Tyler Berg, Charlie, Jill, Margaret and Will Harings, Tina Parker, Melinda Schmidt, Grace and John Uchytil.
Tuesday evening Rev. Guenther led the family, relatives and friends in a Christian vigil service at the funeral home.