Elfriede Martha-Grethe Reda

March 12, 1932October 21, 2020
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Elfriede Martha-Grethe Reda (Ritzmann), 88, of Oregon City, Oregon, passed away on 21 October, 2020.

She was born in Mecklenburg, Germany on 12 March, 1932. She was married to Helmut Reda on 13 April, 1957.

Elfriede worked as a co-owner and office manager for Reda's Painting. She was a member of Oregon City Christian Church and had a passion for gardening, fishing, birds, knitting, sewing, painting, camping, RVing and praying.

She is survived by her three children, Helmut Reda, George Reda, and Angela Petersen; 9 grandchildren Alex Reda, Loren Reda, Maraika Bredbenner, Mackenzie Smith, Nichole Petersen, Jessica Petersen, Crystal Cater, Brandon Parsons and Paul “PJ” Horyn; and 5 great grandchildren Genavieve Cater, Reagan Cater, Montgomery Cater, Michael Parsons and Kaitlyn Horyn.

Funeral arrangements will be held at Lincoln Memorial Park & Funeral Home. The viewing will take place on November 7th, 2020 from 2:30-3, followed by the funeral service at 3pm. The events are both invitation only due to COVID-19 restrictions. You are able to view Elfriede Reda's funeral service live and recorded on Facebook. If you are not already her friend on a Facebook, send a friend request ASAP so the family can confirm. Then on Saturday, Nov 7th, 3PM Pacific Time, the service will be Live streamed from Elfriede’s account.

In lieu of flowers, please prepare a check To: “Elite Care” and Memo: “Elfriede Reda Memorial Fund” and mail to:

4444 SE Oatfield Hill Rd, Milwaukie, OR 97267.

The fund will add a bench and plaque near the chicken coup with Elfriede’s name on it.


  • Elite Care


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
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Elfriede Martha-Grethe Reda

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John Krieg

November 21, 2020

Sorry for the loss of one of the MOST WONDERFUL people I've ever know, I met your mom, because of your father, and it was a wonderful day, all of the information in the obituary's was total the way she was, I'm so sorry I missed the day of her celebration, I thought of her all day that day, I was in eastern Oregon hunting, you can be assured that I would have been present. Thank you for sharing both of your folks with me, they both taught me lots, My success in life was totally due to the training that your father did to me, I will never forget him or your mom, they always had something good to say, and it always made you feel so welcome to be in their company, I will miss the apple strudel, there was never any that I ever tried that even came close to your mom's. They are together now, and I know their happy again together. Hopefully we will meet again. Take Care, God Bless.

Angela Petersen

November 17, 2020

I will be eternally greatful to my mother for the love she gave to me throughout my life and to those she came in contact with .

She was my mother, my friend, confidant, role model, nurse when I was sick, prayer warrior, advisor and Oma to my girls.

She had a passion for life that was led by faith which made her fearless in the face of death.

She taught me so many things but the most important was to have faith. Faith in God, faith in humanity and the faith we will meet again. For now, I will struggle with missing her but will stand strong knowing I will be together with both my parents one day.

Lisa Davis

November 5, 2020

The first time I met Oma was when we visited her home in Oregon. She walked us through her lovely gardens that she worked so hard to keep so beautiful. The grounds were lovely and I enjoyed watching her glow with excitement as she walked us around. She was a wonderful positive life and will continue to be a part of my life as a great influence of pure love. I enjoyed her visits to Arizona. I loved to talk with her and Helmut Sr. about life and where it takes each of us along our journey. Rest In Peace and keep heaven as beautiful as you kept your corner of the world here on Earth. I will look at the flowers I see and think of you.

Crystal Cater

November 3, 2020

Growing up, I didn’t get to spend a lot time with my grandparents, but the time I did get, Oma always made sure was special. I will always remember the camping and fishing trips, the home made dresses and hats, her crocheting outfits for myself and all my dolls and , of course, all the amazing meals. I remember that she always remembered my favorite ice cream, Tillamook Brown Cow, and kept a steady stash when she knew I was coming. She loved her garden and would walk through and talk to and about her flowers, trying to teach me to appreciate them like she did. She rarely talked about her early life in Germany, but when she would open up, she had incredible stories of hardship, heartache and the grace of God. She absolutely believed she made it through only through God’s divine intervention. Her life was well lived and her story will continue to be told through her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Helmut Reda

November 3, 2020

My mother was such an inspiration to so many people. She was a beaming light of peace and hope in the chaos and darkness of humanity.

She was the one who nurtured me with love, confidence and values and then pushed me out of the house, at just the right time, with the confidence to grow and fly on my own.

She taught me so much!

Through her example, she taught me to have courage, to try my best, and take pride in my work. That being a Reda really meant something; and you had footsteps to continue in the family’s journey and legacy.

She taught me to live in peace and harmony. To accept what the Lord has made of you. That today is the culmination of all your decisions and experiences; and should be enjoyed and reflected upon.

She taught me about faith, luck, and having a positive outlook. That you should position your life to be ready to accept what God has in store for you. That through trusting in His faith, you can enjoy the present knowing tomorrow will come and be OK.

Most importantly she taught me about love and the joy and energy it brings to life. That love is unbounded, has many variables, and many sources. That love will open your eyes to the beauty of life; energize and lift your soul; and shed your burdens.

I know she is still with me, looking down from heaven as one of God’s purest angels!

She is now young, beautiful, and faster! I know she has that well used wooden spoon in her hand, at the ready, just in case she still needs to get my attention. I’m trying to pay attention mom!

I love and miss her so much!


Elfriede Martha Reda’s Life Story
March 12, 1932 – October 21, 2020
She graced humanity for only 88 years and now is in heaven, alongside God, collaborating with angels, watching over family and dancing, with the love of her life, her husband Helmut. No-one knows her full story because each of us only experienced snippets of her life, but all of us felt her love, peace, spirituality and strength. She made an impact and left an impression in all of our lives.

Elfriede’s early years were difficult which formed her personality and work ethic. She was born in Mecklenburg, Germany on March 12th, 1932 to Herman Heinrich-Friedrich Ritzmann and Anna Ritzmann (maiden name: Lenth). She was the youngest of four children with siblings Anna, Herman and Walter. She was raised on a small farm and lost her mother when she was only eight years old. Her father never remarried and raised the children himself. When World War II erupted, her siblings moved away to support the war leaving Elfriede to care for her father and the farm. After the end of the war she tried to escape to the West, but was captured. When she was 16 years old, she successfully escaped to West Germany on her second attempt, but suffered emotional trauma. Decades after the war, she summoned the courage to finally visit her father, sister and brothers. She outlived all her siblings.

Her love story and courtship. In West Germany she worked at a factory, was a nanny and cleaned houses in the evening. She met Helmut Reda in 1949 when she was 17 years old. Helmut immigrated to the United States in 1952 sponsored by the Lutheran Church. When she was 25 years old, and after dating Helmut for almost seven years, she immigrated to the United States arriving in New York City on February 14th, 1957 via the ocean liner General W. C. Langfitt, again sponsored by the Lutheran Church. She traveled to Michigan to rejoin Helmut. From Michigan, they moved to Oregon City to live with Uncle Johann and Olga Seeman. She married Helmut on April 13th, 1957 at the Oregon City Trinity Lutheran Church. Elfriede worked at the Oregon City hospital and also at a restaurant in West Linn.

The United States Reda family begins. They had three children Helmut (1958 born during the Asiatic flu), George (1959) and Angela (1964). In 1970 the family purchased forested land on the outskirts of Oregon City and helped build their own home which they lived in for almost five decades. Elfriede was the Matriarch of the family who only wanted the best for everyone. She was an outstanding cook with the highest European standards. The family rarely ate at restaurants and her children did not know frozen or fast foods until their teenage years. She was inspirational and had very strong convictions. She loved the beauty of the great outdoors going camping, fishing and visiting the Oregon Beaches. At the age of 58 she started Reda’s Painting with her husband in 1990 which was one of her proudest accomplishments! In retirement, they purchased a motor home, traveled throughout West, and also purchased a winter home in Yuma AZ. They enjoyed Yuma for almost two decades, made many friends, polka danced, hosted parties and experienced the best years of their lives.

But life eternally pivots, and after years of illness, Helmut passed away on March 8th, 2019. She sold their home, moved into Assisted Living at Oatfield Estates Helen’s House where she tended the chickens, gardens, the koi pond and souls of Helen House. It was here were she discovered her new self, learned how to live alone, find new strengths, and bloom in a new way. Being mentally strong and healthy she looked for ways to help others. She found a new voice to advocate for people with memory impairment. In her last six months she was on the Board of Directors at Oatfield Estates to help guide the company into providing better care and service for their residents. She was respected, loved and cherished by the owners, staff and residents at Oatfield Estates.

Elfriede had many passions in her life, but first and foremost, was being a Christian and prayer warrior. Her faith was pure and it was the foundation of her life. It gave her a sense of kindness, humility and wisdom. She was at peace in her life and knew she was going to heaven. She had found what others seek, an internal happiness and joy. She sang in the choir and spent hours praying before bedtime going around the world for her family and those in need. Her actions and deeds inspired others to trust in faith and find God. She attended many churches throughout her life and, with her husband Helmut, painted five churches.

Elfriede’s strength, courage, conviction, work ethic and thriftiness were her hallmark. To lose her mother in early childhood; to work on the farm during the war; to escape twice from East Germany; to wait faithfully seven years for her husband on another continent; to clear land with axes and build a house; to start a business at 58 years old with only $500 in savings; to lift a car off her son George who was pinned below; and also thrived while learning to live alone. She was always busy, never sitting idle. She preferred to knit, crochet, bead, craft, paint, garden, feed chickens, gather eggs and be outside. She was thrifty and preferred fixing or making things herself versus buying them. She grew fruits and vegetables then canned them for winter. She would reupholster furniture, make her family their clothes and make her own flower arrangements. She would iron and press her husband’s painting overhauls so he would be clean and representable at work. For every Christmas she knitted over 50 pairs of house shoes for her family, friends, staff and residents. Even when she was sitting down and resting, you would still see her tapping and dancing with her feet.

She had a unique and adaptable personality. She was a proud hard-working German with stoic personality. She had dignity, grace, was honest and always tried to do the right thing. She was straight forward, would speak her mind, had high expectations and definite ideas on how to do things the right way. She was very optimistic, but a calculated risk taker. She was the luckiest person in the family and enjoyed fishing and going to the casino. She had a unique, but rare sense of humor that would be expressed with a twinkle in her blue-grey eyes, smile on her face that reflected pure joy, innocence, and a little sassiness.

She was always challenging and improving herself. She learned how to play musical instruments by ear, sew, knit, crotchet, and even Thai Chi. At 88 years old she could use iPAD, iPhone, Facebook, texts and emojis better than her children.

She was always charitable. She knitted baby blankets and caps for the Adventist Medical Center. She would bring cake and cookies to hospitals, medical offices and friends going through tough times. She was the costume maker and seamstress for the Oregon City Dance Team.

She was beautiful! Silky smooth skin; hair that never aged nor needed to be dyed; and cute adorable legs!

Elfriede loved her family and spoiling her grandchildren! She is survived by her three children, Helmut Reda, George Reda, and Angela Petersen; 9 grandchildren Alex Reda, Loren Reda, Maraika Bredbenner, Mackenzie Smith, Nichole Petersen, Jessica Petersen, Crystal Cater, Brandon Parsons and Paul “PJ” Horyn; and 5 great grandchildren Genavieve Cater, Reagan Cater, Montgomery Cater, Michael Parsons and Kaitlyn Horyn.

Learn more about the Reda name