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Benno "Ben" Rau

August 26, 1930 ~ November 19, 2021 (age 91)

Obituary Image


WESTBORO/WESTPORT - Benno Anthony Rau, age 91, of Westport left this world peacefully at his home on Friday, November 19, 2021. He was born August 26, 1930, in Westboro, WI, the youngest of 12 children to Frank and Rose Rau (nee Spalt). He was raised on a farm during the Depression years, which instilled in him a tenacious work ethic, the value of a dollar, and a love of all things outdoors. He spent much of his free time hunting, fishing, woodworking, and gardening, and took great pride in sharing those skills with his children and grandchildren.

Benno met Mary Adele (Martinson) through a family connection, and they married on April 27, 1957, in Madison, WI. They would have celebrated 65 years of marriage in 2022. They had 3 sons and 1 daughter and spent many summers teaching their children the love of camping and nature, as they traveled across the states.

Benno served 4 years as an instructor with the Air Force and 34 years full-time with the Air National Guard, retiring as a SMSgt with the 128th TFW at Truax Field. In retirement, he followed his passion of the outdoors by working with the State Park and Dane County Park systems, assisting in the creation of Governor Nelson State Park.

Celebrating his life and mourning his passing are his wife of 64 years, Mary; son Timothy (Virginia) Rau; son Ronald (Tammie) Rau; son Robert (Jane) Rau; daughter Deborah (Steven) Herbrand; grandchildren, Justin (Kristin) Rau, Josh (Laura) Rau, Jason Rau, Erik Rau, Tiffany (Aaron) Oatneal, Lindsay (David) Gibbs, Zachary Rau, Alyssa Rau, Samantha (Christopher) McBurney, and RaeAnn (Tyler) Herbrand-Gatz; great-grandchildren Benjamin, Jonathan, Josalyn, Aaron Jr., Astrid, Skadi, Ivan, Annarae and Baby M.

Benno was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.

The family would like to express a special thank you to Stephanie, Cerrow, Tanya, Dennis and Agrace Hospice Care for the compassionate care and help. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Dane County Humane Society in Ben’s name.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 11:00 A.M. at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, 5460 Mary Lake Rd, Waunakee, with Msgr. James Gunn presiding. A visitation will be held on Thursday at the church from 10:00 A.M. until time of Mass. Entombment will take place at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:


Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services

2418 N. Sherman Ave.


To send flowers to Benno "Ben" Rau's family, please visit our floral store.


December 2, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St Mary of the Lake Church, Mary Lake Road, Westport
Guaranteed delivery before the Visitation begins

Funeral Mass
December 2, 2021

11:00 AM
St Mary of the Lake Church, Mary Lake Road, Westport

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