Rachel Dodge was born December 3rd, 1925 to Doris (Shanon) and Burnham (Bing) Dodge. The family lived on a farm Elk Mound until 1936 when their farm was lost to the Great Depression. The family, which consisted of Rachel’s twin sisters Leatha and France, brothers Butch and Clayton, and Rachel traveled by car with their mother and father to Bellingham, Washington to pursue a working opportunity.
She returned from Bellingham with her mother and brothers and lived in Altoona where Rachel went to school. She moved in with her aunt Grace Peuse and attended Fall Creek High School from which she graduated as class valedictorian in 1943. Her moving to Fall Creek enabled her to meet Harold Kaeding and they were married December 18th, 1943. She also got her first job working in Fall Creek for Dr. Zebrowski while going to high school.
Rachel only went through high school but was a self-taught lady. She had a fantastic memory and. as recently as a few years ago. she could still recite a poem about Sam McGee word for word. When Steve, Jean, Kathy, and Mary were kids, she would sing them lullabies and recite poems which they in turn can remember to this day. She had many heroes in her life including Mike Royko, Charles Russell, Mark Twain, and Will Rodgers. Her favorite quote from Rogers was, “I never met a person I didn’t like.” She lived her life by that quote and by believing in that philosophy, she never met a person that didn’t like her.
Besides raising four children, Rachel also was community minded. When she was on the Fall Creek School Board one of her tasks was bookkeeping, which she did at home. After a few years this became a fulltime job and she worked as the school and district secretary, a job that Rachel did for over 34 years. This job involved everything from district budgets to counseling employees to driving sick kids to their homes. She and Buck were also involved with the Fall Creek Historical Society and were founding members. Usually, if someone wanted to know anything about Fall Creek’s history, Rachel would know the answer. She had a passion for family history and traced both the Kaeding and Shannon family trees. Her and Buck had adventurous sides and both obtained their pilots licenses before they started a family.
Rachel will be remembered by her children by the way she taught them to live their lives. She will also be remembered by her community for which she served diligently. Additionally, Rachel will be remembered by passers who marvel at the flowers she planted on the farm that are staggered so there are flowers in bloom at the Kaeding farm, spring through fall.
Rachel is survived by a son, Steve (Mary Lou); daughters, Jean Dodge (Dave), Kathleen Ruscin (Herb), and Mary (Stu). She is also survived by nieces, Bev Volkman, and Jean Wilhelm (Mike) and their two sons, Aaron (Jodie) and Matt Wilhelm; nephews, Doug (Charlotte) and Dave (Pat) Volkman. She is further survived by nephews Tom, Joe, and Jim Dodge of Kentucky.
The family would like to thank the staff of Heritage Senior Living for their kind care and consideration during the three plus years that she was a resident here. They would also like to thank Trissa, Mary, and Casandra from St. Croix Hospice for their care to aid in Rachel’s transition and their precious consideration to the family. We would also like to thank Reverend Biedermann of St. James for his visits and readings to Rachel and his Communion visits.
Service and interment will be at a later date at Trinity Lutheran Church, Fall Creek. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to request a donation in Rachel’s name to the Fall Creek Historical Society.
Cremation Society of Wisconsin, Altoona is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at www.cremationsociety-wi.com.