Ortrud Franziska Vatheuer

March 12, 1934March 19, 2019

Ortrud Franziska Wilhelmine Vatheuer was born in Trienke, Pomerania, a former province of Germany, on the twelfth of March, 1934. She was born into a family that consisted eventually of seven children. Frugality was of utmost importance during those times. All of the children participated in supporting the family. One of Ortrud’s earliest childhood memories was of herself at the age of four, standing on a stool next to the stove and stirring the family’s soup. She learned responsibility at a tender age while growing up in the town of Stolzenfelde, Germany, and this trait served her well throughout her life.

Ortrud came with her family to the United States from Germany in 1953, after a childhood made difficult by the second World War and post-war period. As the rest of the Vatheuer family settled into farm life in Idaho, Ortrud worked at Northwest Children’s Home in Lewiston, Idaho taking care of orphans. She spent ten years there. Ortrud valued her time at the home and loved the children, some of whom remained in contact with her into her later years.

In the early 1960’s Ortrud moved to Portland to join her parents and two brothers. She worked at Youngland, an upscale children’s clothing store for many years. This led, in turn, to the opening of her own business in the Multnomah district called “Trudy’s Kinderstube”. The store featured gently-worn children’s clothing, but due to Ortrud’s diligence and ingenuity, the clothing appeared new to her customers.

Ortrud purchased a home near the Multnomah district and developed a passion for gardening. In later years she spent most days outside tending her plants and was known for her exceptionally beautiful roses, which were admired by all those who passed by. A popular neighborhood event was Ortrud’s annual plant sale. Gardening remained her most cherished activity to the end.

For special occasions, Ortrud loved to bake for her family and friends. She enjoyed baking German “Brötchen” (hard rolls), Christmas “Stollen”, and special cakes of various kinds. There were many ”Kaffee und Kuchen“ get-togethers with her German friends. During family visits, she served a delicious breakfast that was especially enjoyed by all visiting family members and will remain a special memory.

When Ortrud lived near down-town Portland, she was one of the original joggers in the area. Later on, as she got older, she began walking and did an early morning walk around her neighborhood every day. She greeted many neighbors as she followed her daily course and connected with the people of her neighborhood in this manner. Ortrud will be greatly missed.

Memorial services will be held at Zion Lutheran Church, 1015 SW 18th Ave., Portland OR 97205, at 12:00 noon on Tuesday April 16th. Reception to follow.


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Ortrud Franziska Vatheuer

have a memory or condolence to add?

Claudia Reinhaus

April 17, 2019

I will truly miss Ortrude. When I first moved to the neighborhood about 15 years ago, I would walk all over the area and would chat with her when I passed her house, appreciating her garden. She would set out plants that she had culled and left a note "free" on them. This was way before she had her yearly plant sale. For two or three years I would drive my car to her house and fill up my trunk with the plants that she had left out. The plants have multiplied and today about 1/4 of my backyard is full of Ortrud's plants.....she will always be in my memory.

Steve and Agnes Kovacs

April 16, 2019

We knew Ortrud as Trudi for 29 years, since becoming neighbors in 1990. She welcomed us warmly to the street we both shared and since we also shared the same European background and similar traditions we had an instant connection with her. We saw each other almost daily, exchanging greetings and stopping by to exchange produce from our gardens, desserts we knew the other enjoyed very much, or just a few words. We spent hours discussing a wide range of topics from world politics, recipe tips, cooking techniques, the state of health care or just the neighborhood news of the day.

Trudi would look after our home and cats when we were away and we were only happy to return the favor and watch her home and bring in her mail whenever she was away visiting friends or family. She made the most delicious Black Forest cakes for our children's birthdays and was amazed how fast they grew up in front of her eyes. She was part and parcel of our little corner of the Multnomah neighborhood and would share memories and stories of neighbors' past.

When we look out our window towards her house we still expect to see her tending to her beautiful garden or hanging her laundry to dry in the sun. With Trudi's passing, there's now a hole in the neighborhood and a hole in our hearts and we're saddend that we can't see her any more. We'll cherish fond memories of Ortrud and always remember Trudi for her smile, love and generosity.

Leigh Coffey

April 16, 2019

For years we would see Ortrud pass our house on her regular walks. I only had a chance to speak with her once, and she told me that she had been a runner earlier in her life. Her determination and energy were inspiring, and her presence made the neighborhood a better place. We share the sadness of her friends and family and offer our good wishes. We miss her.

Linda Berning

April 14, 2019

Ortrud was such a special person in my life. I owned the knitting store in Multnomah Village just a few doors down from her store, and we would often visit and share stories. She was always willing to help translate letters that I would receive from a German family in Austria. After she closed her store, she would still drop by while she was out for her walk and visit with that great smile and laugh. I will always remember her great fondness.

Don Hewitt

April 4, 2019

We were so sorry to hear of Ordtrud's passing. When we lived a few houses from her in the Multnomah district, she was one of the best neighbors that we have known. She was always friendly, welcoming and full of interesting stories; both of her past and what was going on locally. She often brought us some of the bounty of her garden and once a while, delicious rolls. Sometimes, in the evening, she would enjoy a glass of wine with us on our front porch and we would share our philosophies. After we moved away and whenever we were in Portland, we made an effort to see her. We were always extremely and warmly greeted. We are left now with admiration for her and an empty place in our hearts. RIP dear Ortrud. Sincerely,
Don Hewitt-Kermit Heckert.

Karen Cogdill

April 1, 2019

I met Ortrud in 1974, and stayed in touch all these years. I last spoke with her on her 85th birthday. I have fond memories of her baking, and gardening. All her baked goods were delicious. It was obvious that her pride and joy was her garden. I remember the colorful bouquet of cut flowers inside her home. The flowers and plants outside made neighbors, and people passing by comment on her beautifully manicured garden. These memories make me smile. I will miss her.