Claire Vomhof
Claire Vomhof

Claire Eilert Vomhof, 89, of Rochester, died on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Samaritan Bethany in Rochester.

He was born on July 12, 1928, in Racine to Eugene and Lauretta (Gieseke) Vomhof.  He attended country school through eighth grade and graduated from Stewartville High School in 1946.

He married Dorene Kohlmeyer on July 24, 1949, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wykoff. They were blessed with nine children.

He and his wife farmed for 40 years, first in Racine and later in Wykoff. They retired from the farm in 1988 and moved to Milwaukee, Wis., where he attended college for two years and received a degree as a Lay Minister.

He always wanted to be a pastor. After a brief interruption of 40 years of dairy farming, he was able to fulfill that dream and became the visitation pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester at age 72, a job he cherished. He was in that capacity from 2000 to 2016 visiting and bringing communion to the homebound. He also served as a chaplain for Olmsted Medical Center and for the Prison Ministry in Rochester. He wrote letters to family and friends. He shared that gift of writing with his younger grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. He also wrote three books, sharing the love of Christ through his experience in the ministry.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorene; three sons, Larry (Deb) of Chatfield, Dean (Cheryl) of Gillette, Wyo., and Paul (Linda) Vomhof of Wykoff; five daughters, Dawn (Glen) Halvorsen of Lakeville, Minn., Deb (Jim) Brown of Rochester, Marion (Dan) Vomhof of La Mesa, Calif., Muriel (Don) Vomhof of West St. Paul and Grace Adams of Eagan and daughter-in-law, Greta Vomhof of Jacksonville, Fla.; sister, Laurel Graham of Victoria, Texas; sister-in-law, Ruth Grabau of Phoenix, Ariz.; sister- and brother-in-law, Helen and Don Keyes of Wykoff; 24 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandsons and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a son, Lynn; an infant son; brother, Eugene; sisters-in-law, Phyllis Vomhof, Eunice Kohlmeyer and Dorothy Meyer; brothers-in-law, Walter Kohlmeyer, Leonard Meyer, Arnie Graham and Reuben Grabau.

A funeral service for him will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester with the Rev. Nathaniel Schwartz and the Rev. Joel Haak officiating with interment at St. John’s Lutheran Church cemetery in Wykoff. Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes in Rochester and one hour prior to the service at the church.

Memorial contributions may be directed to St. John’s Lutheran School in Wykoff or to Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester.

To share a special memory or condolence, please visit