Who Are The Rattenne's? 
And Why Should You Care?
The Rattenne family started as most families did, with a mother and a father. Just who the first mom and dad were in that long ago time is uncertain. In fact, current research only goes back to the mid-1800s, where  documentation exists to suggest that a Rattenne named Micke (Mickey?) was born in Italy (whereabouts unknown) in 1856 (to French parents?) and migrated to America in the late 1880s. 

Micke married Emma Cabana, one of 12 children born to Jerome and Margaret Cabana, on June 26, 1883 (location unknown but likely to have been Sioux City, IA). Seven years later, on March 19, 1890, he became a U.S. citizen in Woodbury County IA. 

Micke died on May 1, 1928 at the age of 72, and is buried in Logan Park, Sioux City, IA. 

Michael II: The Dad

Micke and Emma gave birth to Michael Leo Rattenne on August 24, 1898. Young Mike spent most of his life in the Sioux City area and eventually went to work for the Chicago Great Western Railroad (later the Chicago & North Western), holding a position in the Sioux City roundhouse. 

He married Hazel Eugenia Lanphere on October 2, 1921, and the two conceived their first son, Donald Clair, a little more than three months into the marriage. 

The Kids

Donald was born October 21, 1922, and Mike and Hazel subsequently gave birth to four more children: Jean, Michael Leo III, Geraldine, and James. The five children were reduced to four when young Jean died tragically at the tender age of 16 from a brain tumor. Don would sometimes mention to his family how Jean's death affected him. They were very close and Don was away at sea serving in the Pacific with Army Transport Service - he found out from a cable sent to the ship from his Dad.

Westward Ho!

Don and Mike were the first to leave home and ended up serving in the Army Transport Service (precursor to today's MST) during WWII. 

By the 1950s Don, Jim and daugher Jerry had all migrated to California. Jim and Jerry lived in Southern California and Don in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the early 1960s their parent, Mike II and wife Hazel, also moved to Southern Caliornia, where, in 1968, Mike was struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing a street. He died days later from a perforated ulcer. 

Two years later, on July 30, 1970,  daughter Jerry was killed in an auto accident in Orange County California, leaving two children and a husband behind. (Note: Through Facebook, Ken Rattenne was contacted by Jerry's daughter Kendra and the two have been corresponding ever since.)

A portrait of sisters Jean and Jerry and brothers Mike and Jim. Photo was taken by oldest brother Don circa 1940. (click to enlarge)

The family stayed intact until March 3, 1996 when oldest brother Don passed away from complications due to mesothelioma (contracted from all the years he worked in the engine room of various ships).  And on February 25, 2001, youngest brother Jim passed away in Colordo Springs at age 68. 

As December 2002, only Michael Leo III survives. 

Responsibility for carrying on the family name is now in the hands of Michael IV (who has already brought a Michael V into the world along with two more sons) and Don's son Kirk, who fathered son Daniel.

Michael II with baby Don, wife Hazel and Grandma Erma at Leeds, Iowa. (Photographer unknown)
The family homestead in Leeds (Sioux City). (Don Rattenne Photo)

Michael II with his wife Hazel in 1921
Youngest son Jimmy at the Leeds Iowa house - date unknown. (Click to see more)
Geraldine Rattenne, the youngest daughter, in her high school her graduaton photo. Like her siblings, she moved to Southern California where she married.  (Click to enlarge)

Youngest son Jim, Sioux City, date unknown. 

Last updated 12/2002