Pauline Litfin, 90, a Lodi resident of 68 years, went to her heavenly home on October 29, 2021, after a short illness. She was born March 2, 1931, of a sixth generation German family living in Neudorf, Ukraine, Russia. Her father Jakob Lippert III, as a young teenager, was an anti-communist and loyal to the Tsar and the Russian Republic. When the Bolshevik (Russian) Revolution began in 1917, while too young to fight with the White Army as he was only 15 years, Jakob was given the position of ammunitions boy, helping supply the front line soldiers. After the revolution ended in 1923, the communists had complete control over Russia and began to persecute anyone that was non-Russian or anti-communist. In 1928, Jakob married Christina Kammerer, also from Neudorf and had three sons, all who perished during infancy, with Pauline being the only surviving child. Because of the continued persecutions, Pauline and her parents were forced to move from one location to another until in 1936, they were allowed to settle in Mnimatzky Futor which meant “German village”.
They worked very hard on the collective farm until they were liberated in 1941, during Operation Barbarossa, by the invading German forces. The German command found out that Jakob was German and spoke Russian, Romanian, and Yiddish and hired him as an interpreter, for which they all were treated very well. However, that came to an end in March of 1944. After Stalingrad was retaken by the Red Army, German forces were forced to retreat from Ukraine, came into Pauline’s village, and told everyone they had only 3 hours to pack and leave. As it was the harshest winter in many years, they could not leave until the next day. After three long months walking most of the time alongside the wagon train, Pauline had traveled from Ukraine through Bessarabia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and ended in Czechoslovakia, where they were put into cattle cars and taken by train over 6 days to Poland. After several weeks there, they were assigned to the town Renau in Germany to live, which after the rise of the Iron Curtain, ended up in West Germany just 2 miles from the border. She lived there until November 1951 as her father’s uncle Gottlieb Lippert, who was living in St. Francis, Kansas, sponsored them to come to America. While she was in the immigration camp preparing to come to America, she met her future husband, Robert Litfin, who with his family was also immigrating to America. Robert passed earlier this year on March 29, 202, at age 91.
Once in America, as their courtship continued, Pauline and Robert were married on January 18, 1953, at the original First Baptist Church on Central Avenue in Lodi, as they were one of the few churches with German services. After a short while, Robert and Pauline started their own business which was known as Litfin’s Landscape Service and Nursery and then later Litfin’s Rock Sales. As Pauline both worked at raising a family and running the business and yard, Robert was doing landscaping and construction throughout most of the Lodi area. They retired in 1994 and enjoyed traveling, motor homing, taking cruises and visiting family. She always enjoyed the daily visits by longtime friend Donna Kost, until her passing this year and her friendship with Betty Shipes. Pauline was also very active in The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and The Gideon’s International. She has been a faithful member of First Baptist Church since 1953.
Pauline is survived by daughter Agnes (Stephen) Olmsted, sons Helmuth (Evonne) and Hugh (Gloria), daughter Lynette (Bryan) Lowe and son Edward (Tamatha) , as well as nine grandchildren, Christina (Matt) Boone, Katie (Mike) Steen, Andrew Litfin, Jakob and Joshua Litfin, Esther and Benjamin Lowe, Rachel and Matthew Litfin, and also five great-grandchildren. Pauline was preceded in death by her beloved husband Robert of 68 years, parents Jakob and Christina Lippert and brothers Jakob IV, Wilhelm and Friedrich Lippert.
Viewings will be on Friday, November 19, 3:00-7:00pm, and Saturday, November 20, 1:00-5:00pm., at Lodi Funeral Home, 725 S. Fairmont in Lodi. The public Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, November 22, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 267 N. Mills Avenue in Lodi, CA. Masks will be required. Live-streaming for this will be at fbclodi.org/live-events. The private family burial will be held earlier in the day at Lodi Funeral Home with the Interment at Lodi Memorial Cemetery.
Pauline loved flowers, but if she were still here, she would even more appreciate donations in her memory to The First Baptist Church, Missions Projects, 267 N. Mills Avenue, Lodi, CA 95241, or The Gideon’s International at P.O. box 971, Lodi, CA 95241. Your sentiments, tributes, and extra details can be obtained at LODIFUNERALHOME.com.