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Matilde R. Boettcher

Matilde R. Boettcher

April 25, 2017

On October 24, 1933, in the lush, tropical hills of Ciales, Puerto Rico, a fiery Latina girl named Matilde greeted her tumultuous yet beautiful world. She was born to Celia Vasquez and Rafael Robles, the oldest of nine children, sister to Gilberto, Myrna (predeceased), Cesar (predeceased), Ruth, Rafin, Walter, Damaris and ‘adopted’ brother, Jose Davila.

 Swept off her feet by a young G.I. stationed in Puerto Rico, Maty married Jerry Boettcher (from Park Falls, WI) on April 22, 1960, and they recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. Jerry adopted her beloved son, Raul (preceded in death 1983) and grew their family, welcoming three daughters: Geri Krause (Craig), Mary Travis (Mike), and Denise Travis; ten grandchildren: Adam Krause (Amy), Jon Krause (Alyssa), Laura Rykal (Caleb), Jon Travis, Ben Travis, Carmen Travis, Mikki Travis, Kat Prevenas (Andy), Isaac Travis and step-granddaughter Melissa Abbott; eight great-grandchildren: Elijah, Zoe, Joshua, Noah, Dawson, Milo, Dominic, and Vincent.

During their marriage, they lived in various cities in Puerto Rico, Miami Beach, FL, Park Falls, WI, Merrill, WI moving to Eau Claire, WI in 2001. After working in the insurance field earlier in her life, she committed to raising her children full-time, going on to receive her cosmetologist license, then her own salon, Maty’s Hair Club, in Merrill, WI after her children were grown.

Revered by family and friends for her kindness of heart, generosity of spirit (always sharing food/material possessions), and the most hospitable reputation, Maty accommodated numerous family members, their children, and any friend or person with need. Maty and Jerry hosted people in their home on a regular basis. From a mere overnight visit to two nieces’ school-year stays to providing air transportation and opportunity to young Alicia, met while on vacation, she unabashedly demonstrated her selfless, Christian love for others.

Although small in stature, Maty emanated a powerful, yet tender and compassionate presence. She loved fervently and intensely with a passion that couldn’t be contained. Now her memory will linger forever in our hearts, reminding us to become kinder more merciful people.

Memories from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren:

“She made the best floor beds. They were so comfy!” “When she had a gift for me, she’d say, ‘I have a little turd for you.’” “I always felt loved unconditionally.” “She would sometimes randomly buy something for us. Like something from a thrift sale or some deal.” “I remember her insistence on feeding us at any moment in time.” “She’s the best back-scratcher in the world!” “One of my earliest memories was seeing her cook for everyone - all her kids and their families. Everyone was piled into their house. There was a lot of laughter and commotion.” “She was so overcautious that some smartie in the family nicknamed her ‘Gramma OSHA!” “Mmmm. She made the best gravy.” “Her back rubs were the best. I remember not wanting to fall asleep, just to get a longer rub!” “She was so generous. She went to Costa Rica to visit friends and met a family with nothing. Literally nothing but a dirt floor. She bought them a mattress right then and there.” “Gramma called those hair rubber band things, rabitos or rabos for short. That’s what I thought they were called so now even my friends call them rabos!” “She never hesitated to offer food to people… never a second thought as to whether there was enough. There was ALWAYS enough.” “OH, the milk. She believed milk was a super food. So if we were being fussy about any food, she’d offer milk, chocolate milk, milk and cookies, cereal and milk… and our anti-sugar parents couldn’t do anything about it!” “She loved to shop for everyone and got the best bargains. Like a designer shirt for $2 or 14K gold earrings for $10. She’d buy something that ‘had my name on it’ and couldn’t wait for Christmas to give it to me, giving it to me next time she visited.” “Oh my gosh. Her stories of caution! ‘I once knew a girl who put her arm out the window…’” “When she’d yell in exasperation, ‘Ay, Dios mio!’”


Maty’s Celebration of Life service will be held on Sunday, April 30 at Jacob’s Well Church, Eau Claire, WI. Visitation at 2 pm with service at 3:30 pm. A light luncheon will follow.


Maty’s wisdom:

“To know is not good enough.”

“People give what they want to give.”

“Get that hair out of your eyes. You’re going to go blind!” (smile/wink)






Visitation at 2pm at Jacob's Well Church, Eau Claire, WI.


Service at 3:30pm at Jacob's Well Church, Eau Claire, WI.