Life Stories

Good morning. Welcome to the celebration of the life of Raymond P. Mueller Sr. For those of you that don’t know me, I am Peter, the youngest of the Mueller children. Dad was born on September 1st, 1917. He was born again to eternal life on April 16th, 2012.
Dad was born and raised on a dairy farm near Sherwood, which is a small town not far from here. He wasn’t able to attend school as long as he allowed his children to, due to other obligations, but you wouldn’t know it by his ability to be successful during his lifetime. When Dad was in his early twenties, he began to court a young lady from nearby St. John, Rita Mary Kees. Dad would drive his car a couple of miles to visit Mom. Mom’s younger siblings would see him coming up the driveway and sing a song to Mom that started with, Ray-Ray come, Ray-Ray come. The courtship lasted until May 3rd, 1944 when Mom and Dad were married at St. John the Baptist church in St. John. That is when the fun started.
Mom and Dad bought a dairy farm about 5 miles out of Chilton, where they farmed for 52 years. They have 11 children. Raymond Jr., Richard, Ann Marie, Ronald, Theresa, Glenn, Gail, Carl, Karen, Connie and me. From those 11 children, we have 30 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and still counting. Dad was busy.
We lived on a small farm, so Dad had to work outside jobs along with farming. Dad was a hard worker.
It was during one of these jobs, driving a milk truck, when Dad came across a tractor rolling in a field with nobody in the seat. He jumped out of his truck and stopped the tractor shortly before it was about to run over the driver that had been thrown from the seat. Dad was a hero.
It wasn’t all work for Dad. He enjoyed Sheepshead, dancing, putting puzzles together and bean bagging. They played in a number of card clubs over the years and we as children, would watch and learn. I apologize in advance if some of you don’t understand the sheepshead terms I am about to use. It was just a few short weeks ago, when his grand-daughter Christine was having her baby shower that Mom attended, some of the brothers and I joined Dad for some sheepshead. Though he couldn’t see or hear that well, his mind was still as sharp as ever. He was sitting to my left, which means he was behind me when playing, and he would get a little grin on his face as he kept trumping me and taking tricks. Don’t know who won or lost money that day, don’t care. It was a great day playing cards with him. Dad was a card shark.
The other game Dad enjoyed was bean bags. He played for a number of years for Brant Inn in a local league. Growing up, we would go along and pick up the bags for the players to earn some spending money. A few years ago, some of my brothers and I thought of playing in a bean bag tournament that the Stockbridge Lions club sponsors every year. We thought it would be great if Dad would play with us and he agreed. The team name we thought of was “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Now some of you might think we used the name because of a popular TV show. However, it was more because everybody loved Dad. I mean, what’s not to love? We had some success in the tournament, but I won’t rub it in. For today, we will consider bean bag a sport. If NASCAR is a sport, we can call bean bag a sport. Dad was an athlete.
The Mueller family isn’t big on public showing of emotion. When we gather, we aren’t big on hugs like some families. But in no way does that mean the love isn’t there. I think we learned this quiet respect and assumed love from Dad. Dad was a man of few words, but when he spoke, people generally listened. Dad was very busy when we were growing up, but he would still take the time occasionally to take a couple of swings at the softball at night after milking. But for me, the love Dad had, really came out toward the grandchildren. After he was retired, he was able to spend time with them playing games and doing whatever they wanted. He would also give them hugs and kisses when it was time for them to go home. As far as respect, Dad was well respected in the community. I was often asked by people around Chilton who my parents were. After I would tell them, they would comment what nice people they are. My brother in law summed up community respect in this way, “respect for a man in the community is sometimes based on how he treats his wife.” Dad cherished the life he had with Mom, as evidenced by the many years they spent together. On May 3rd, they will be married 68 years. What great role models they both are for us. It was also a short time ago when Mom attended a funeral for a sibling, Sr. Anacile. She returned home after their normal bed time. Dad was still waiting in his chair until Mom returned home safely. Dad was a gentleman.
So as you can see, Dad was many things during his 94 years on earth. Among those was a great husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He often stated how he would live to be 100, close enough Dad, we’ll round up on this one.
We have a distinct advantage with our faith. That is we believe in everlasting life. We can all rest assured that Dad is up in heaven, sitting in a chair, Ronny on one side and Timmy on the other. Dad, have fun reuniting with them and the rest of your family. Save us a spot up there so that we may be with you again some day. We will miss you and we love you.