Catholic Twin Cities philanthropist Henrietta Rauenhorst dies

| October 18, 2010 | 0 Comments

Twin Cities philanthropist Henrietta Veronica Schmoll Rauenhorst died Oct. 13 at the age of 83. Known as “Hanky” to family and friends, she was a St. Catherine University Emerita Trustee, and she chaired two of its fundraising campaigns with her husband, Gerald (Gerry). She also sat on the board of the Convent of the Visitation, and she was an active member of the Minneapolis League of Catholic Women, the St. Thomas Academy Mothers’ Club, and the Our Lady of Grace Choir in Edina. She and her husband have been honored by several Catholic organizations, and they received the 2005 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association for their promotion of Catholic education.

Henrietta and Gerald were married for 60 years and had seven children, 21 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Henrietta was born in 1927 in Renville County, Minn. She attended grade school at a country school and graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Bird Island in 1944. She graduated from the College of St. Catherine in 1949 with a degree in economics. While a student there, she met her husband, who was a student at the nearby College of St. Thomas. They marred at St. Mary in Bird Island in 1950.

Henrietta worked for energy companies in Minnesota and Wisconsin before Gerald started his own construction business in Richfield in 1953. The family business, first known as Rauenhorst Construction, eventually became Opus Construction, and gained a reputation for solid construction and ethical business practices. Henrietta approached the company’s success with humility, insisting her family maintain a low profile and view honest work as a gift from God. Several organizations honored the couple for their philanthropic efforts. Gerald honored his wife by funding a St. Catherine’s University residence hall and the ballroom of Coeur de Catherine in her name. In 2008, the university also named its School of Health after her.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at Our Lady of Grace in Edina. Interment will be at Resurrection Cemetery. Visitation will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at Our Lady of Grace and one hour prior to Mass at church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to St. Catherine University, the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet for Carondelet Village.

Category: Obituaries