Hilda Frei Rosenast 1941 - 2023

Hilda Frei Rosenast, 82, of McMinnville, Oregon, passed away peacefully following a brief illness, surrounded by her husband of 59 years and all her children.

Loving, Caring, Sharing, Amazing, Funny, Witty, Strong, Faithful, a Peacemaker — these are just a few of the words that describe her.

Hilda was born February 13, 1941, in Zürich, Switzerland, to father Hans Frei and mother Hilda Frei-Kraus. She was preceded in death by her parents and elder sister of eight years, Sonja Frei.

Hilda enjoyed her youth in Zürich. Pastimes included frequenting a relative’s movie theater, where she was a card-carrying member of the Fip-Fop Klub; ice skating; riding her bicycle; and sitting in the sidecar of her father’s motorcycle.

As a young girl, her family had the pleasure of meeting Sister Lúcia, one of three shepherd children to witness the Marian apparitions in Fatima. This experience formed the beginnings of her very strong Catholic faith.

As a teenager in catechism class, she developed a lifelong relationship with best friend, Renata. Renata soon introduced Hilda to her brother, Josef “Sepp” Rosenast. Upon introduction in the Rosenast kitchen, Sepp said, “Hallo Fräulein Frei”— and was greeted in return with a punch to his chest and the reply, “Ich bin Hilda!” With that punch to his heart, Sepp was was instantly smitten.

After graduating from a business apprenticeship, her adventurous spirit and interest in travel led Hilda to a year as a candy striper in England, where she cared for the dying, and a year as an au pair in Portugal. She then returned to Zürich, where she worked for Pirelli.

In 1963, Sepp received an invitation to a traveling snake show; he asked Hilda if she wanted to go with him, and she said yes. The date even involved petting a boa constrictor. “She was fearless,” said Sepp.

At the end of their first date, Hilda planted a kiss on Sepp’s cheek. At midnight, New Year's Day, 1964, Sepp proposed to Hilda with the church bells ringing. The following August, the two were married. First daughter Elisabeth was born in June 1965.

That November, Sepp asked Hilda if she would like to move to the United States of America. Since she loved traveling, this adventurous, fearless woman replied, “Yes.” So Hilda, with her husband and first child in tow, flew off to the USA, sight unseen. Upon arrival, the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 occurred, leading Hilda to remark in later years, “When we came, they turned off the lights."

First settling at a berry farm in Boring, Oregon, the family welcomed their second daughter, Andrea, in May of 1968.
After a brief stint in Albany, they finally purchased a dairy farm in McMinnville, where they remained permanently. It was here that Tony, Trish, and Joey were born.

A fun-spirited, beautiful soul, she was known for her long hugs that teetered on the point of being perhaps a bit TOO long for the uninitiated. She cared deeply for the people around her. One of the many ways she showed this caring was by feeding people with her wondrous cooking and baking skills—Knöpfli, cakes, and Gützli were particular favorites.

She loved excursions to the Oregon Coast. For the past 25 years, another highlight of her day was attending the daily Mass at the Trappist Abbey in Lafayette. It was here she found a second family of sorts, even “adopting” some of the monks there.

She loved mysteries. Along with the spiritual Sacred Catholic Mysteries, Hilda was a fan of the more earthly variety, namely murder mysteries: Masterpiece Mystery, Murder, She Wrote, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock, and classic films on TCM were favorites.

She is survived by her loving husband, Josef Werner Rosenast. She is also survived by her proudest achievement, her children: Elisabeth, Andrea (Shawn) Hamilton, Tony (Maggie), Trish Candia, and Joey; grandchildren, Austin Hamilton, Cassie Johnson, Mason and Gavin Rosenast, and Zander Candia; and great-grandchild, Corby Johnson.

Her next-door neighbors put it quite well, saying, “She’s the only person we know who had a first class ticket to Heaven.”
Auf Wiedersehen Hilda/Mom/Mammi/Muetti— We love you SO much.

A Rosary will be held at 12:30 p.m. this Friday, December 1, 2023, at St. James Catholic Church in McMinnville, followed by a Funeral Mass at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Trappist Abbey (https://trappistabbey.org) or Tunnel to Tower (https://t2t.org) To leave online condolences, please visit www.macyandson.com


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