Cover photo for Hortense Reuthinger-Offerle's Obituary
1929 Hortense 2020

Hortense Reuthinger-Offerle

February 16, 1929 — March 6, 2020


February 16, 1929 – March 06, 2020

Hortense or “Horty,” as her friends and family knew her, went home to her heavenly father on March 6, 2020. She was born in Laredo on February 16, 1929 where she lived most of her life. She graduated from Martin High School as the school valedictorian at the age of 17. At that young age, she traveled to New York City where she attended and graduated from The Julliard School of Music. She then attended and graduated from the University of Texas in Austin.

Upon graduation from U.T., she spent a year teaching in Germany. She returned to her beloved Laredo to dedicate her life to music education. In truth, countless people remember her by saying, “She was my music teacher.” During the latter part of her career, she served as director of music programs for the Laredo Independent School District. She loved teaching music and also gave private piano lessons to numerous students.

Together with Sammy Johnson and Stanley Keilson, she was founder of the Laredo Little Theatre. With Sammy and Stanley, many plays were produced in Laredo including summer musicals at the Lamar Junior High Auditorium. Her performance as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady with Stanley Keilson portraying Professor Higgins was unforgettable at the Laredo Civic Center in 1965. Innumerable plays provided an educational vehicle enjoyed by students as well as theatre aficionados. It is important to note that she is also credited with being a founder of the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra and Laredo Theatre Guild International.

Horty had a life-long love for the Methodist Church. She played the organ and piano and directed the choir for decades. She was an important member of Tuesday Music and Literature Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, and was pivotal in producing the flower and art show and many other charitable events throughout each year.

Although she was well dedicated to charity and Fine Arts in the community, she was a private person who preferred to not be recognized for her contributions. Even still, she was formally awarded and honored by the following Laredo organizations: The Methodist Church, Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Laredo Junior Achievement, Laredo Little Theatre, Laredo Theatre Guild International, and several others. One of her dearest friends, Gloria, was recently quoted as saying, “Horty was most interested in activities that helped others.”

Horty was married to Max Offerle who was a decorated war hero who fought in WWII. He was a P.O.W. who, while suffering capture, participated in building the famed “Bridge Over the River Kwai.” Horty and Max enjoyed traveling yearly to attend P.O.W. reunions. They also enjoyed planning trips and would travel to Europe and Asia together.

She shared that she was even able to visit her ancestral home in a town named “Seven Churches” on the border between Switzerland and Germany. Horty’s grandparents were Laredo pioneers. Her grandfather came to Laredo via Corpus Christi from Germany in the mid-1800’s and established a saddlery shop in old downtown Laredo. Her grandmother was Hortense Robin who was from Paris, France and was well known for her vast rose garden and kind deeds. Interestingly, both came to Laredo from Europe, and ended up meeting and marrying in Laredo, Texas. Horty always looked forward to spending time at the family ranch that has been in the family since the early 1900’s. She made many happy memories there fishing and sharing fish fillets with family and friends.

Her husband, Max Offerle, her father, George Reuthinger Sr., and her mother, Johnnie Virginia Henry- Reuthinger, preceded Hortense in death. She was also preceded in death by her brother, George (Edie) Reuthinger Jr. and her sister, Bette (Pat) Patterson.

She is survived by her sister Virginia Wynn and her brother-in-law, Dr. James Wynn of San Antonio. She is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews, as well as a wonderful family of dear friends. Horty passed away peacefully just moments after one of her friends, Brendan Townsend, played his cello for her at the Laredo Specialty Hospital. Horty had no enemies; she had many friends and admirers. Laredo will miss her dearly.

A private Graveside Service will be held at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

A public Memorial Service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Laredo at a later date.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks to the Laredo Specialty Hospital staff, Dr. Casas, staff physician, Dr. Ildefonzo Flores, her primary care physician, and her three care givers: Amalia, Olga, and Alma for their kindness and special attention on her behalf.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made in her memory to: First United Methodist Church, Philharmonic Orchestra, Laredo Theatre Guild International, Laredo Little Theatre, or the Laredo Junior Achievement.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care and direction of the funeral service professionals at Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services, 1410 Jacaman Road, Laredo, Texas 78041; (956)722-8850.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Hortense Reuthinger-Offerle, please visit our flower store.

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