Chad Mitchell Ristau

Chad Mitchell Ristau

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Chad Mitchell Ristau

April 23, 1968-May 28, 2020

GENESEO — Chad Mitchell Ristau, 52, of Geneseo, passed away Thursday, May 28, 2020, at home from a battle with pancreatic cancer. He remained rooted in his deep faith and personal relationship with Jesus throughout his journey. He was positive, strong and full of character until his last breath. A private funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Geneseo Chapel. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery, Geneseo. A livestream broadcast of the service will be available for family and friends unable to attend due to COVID restrictions at A drive-thru visitation service will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 1, 2020, at the funeral home. Those attending will not be allowed to exit their vehicles due to COVID protocol. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to The Chad Ristau Scholarship Fund, a yearly scholarship awarded to a senior from JD Darnell High School planning to pursue a career in construction.

Chad was born April 23, 1968, the son of Patrick Ristau and Judith Millslagle in Geneseo, Ill. He graduated from JD Darnell High School and spent his professional life as a superintendent for Bob Johnson Construction. He married the love of his life, Jamie Swiger, on Nov. 7, 2015. He leaves behind a son, Ayden (18) who he loved to teach everything he knew, and a precious daughter, Remi (3), who he lovingly called “little girl.” Chad was full of life and adventure from a young age. He was an amazing, loving and exceptionally devoted husband and father. He could fix anything. He built his home with his own hands and was always woodworking and starting another home project. He was described as “the hardest worker EVER,” often requested by others to do work on their home. He was loyal to every friend. He had a generous spirit, volunteering his time as a volunteer firefighter on the Geneseo Fire Department. He was honest, and his word was stronger than any contract. He would always say, “I'll take care of it” or “Don't worry about it” and when he said it, he did it. A man of few words, but when he spoke his words were full of wisdom ... short, to the point, and littered with his dry humor. His laugh was loud and contagious — especially watching something funny on TV. Chad could hunt, fish and cook anything he brought home. A fish fry was his specialty. He loved to garden with his wife and cultivated an abundant harvest — canning and freezing fresh food all summer long. And if you knew how to play euchre, you had an immediate best friend.

Chad is survived by his loving wife, Jamie; children, Ayden and Remi; parents, Patrick (Pam) Ristau, of Geneseo, Ill., and Judith (Tom) Millslagle, of Savanna, Ill.; sisters, Toni (Eric) McGowen, of Williamsport, Ind., and Jennifer (Steve) Durick, of Des Moines, Iowa; father-in-law, Steve (Linda) Swiger, of Geneseo, Ill.; sisters-in-law, Angie Bardsley, of Colorado, and Kerry (James) VanNieuwenhuyse, of South Dakota; brother-in-law, Dave (Kira) Swiger, of South Carolina; along with countless aunts, uncles and nieces and nephews who ADORED him.

Thank you to the many who supported Chad and his family through his cancer journey. And thank you to each and every person reading this who added to the story of his wonderful life.

The family would love to hear any memories you have of Chad on the tribute wall at

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