Frau Vodde retires from German Kantine after 40 years of service

by Airman 1st Class Savannah L. Waters
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Frau Marie-Luise Vodde and her husband, Herr Rudi Schroder, pose for a photo at the German Kantine on Ramstein Air Base, Dec. 18, 2017. Frau Vodde began operating the Einsiedlerhof Kantine almost 40 years ago in 1977. In 1995, she moved to Ramstein and operated the Kantine here for the last 22 years until her recent retirement. — Courtesy photo

After 40 years of service to the Kaiserslautern Military Community, Marie-Luise Vodde, operator of the German Kantine on Ramstein Air Base, retired Dec. 2017.
The German Kantine was contractually sponsored by the 86th Mission Support Group. In cooperation with the German Works Council, Frau Vodde offered wholesome, value-priced, authentic German meals to the base populace for the last 22 years here.
With Frau Vodde’s retirement, a contractual request for business proposals was initiated on Jan. 5, and the 17 German vendors interested in assuming operation of the Kantine have until Feb. 8, to respond. The business is expected to reopen during the summer.
The 86th Civil Engineer Group also began renovation work in the German Kantine facility at the start of the New Year. The renovations are to ensure the facility’s compliance with current German food service code requirements.
Frau Vodde and her first husband began operating the Einsiedlerhof Kantine in 1977. In 1995, they moved to Ramstein and operated the Kantine here for the last 22 years.
“When I got the offer to run the Kantine on Ramstein in 1995, I was able to build a very good relationship with my customers,” Vodde said. “They honored what I did.”
During this period, Frau Vodde’s first husband passed away, and she remarried Herr Schroder, who operated the Kantine with her.
Even though at least 70 percent of its business was from Americans on the base, the Kantine was made to provide an eating establishment for local workers, and was a very popular place, said Richard Toney, 86th MSG deputy director.
“Many years ago, when the base was more open to the public, the German Kantine hosted parties and dances, and was quite the social place for people to gather,” Toney said.
The peak of business success occurred when Rhein Main, Germany, closed in 2005, and much of the airlift mission moved to Ramstein. Construction on the runway and other places on Ramstein resulted in a significant increase in construction workers, and a corresponding increase in Kantine business.
Ramstein recognizes the iconic contributions Frau Vodde made to the base for 40 years as operator of the German Kantine, at both Einsiedlerhof and Ramstein. Frau Vodde will miss the Kantine life, but is looking forward to retirement.
“The Kantine was my life,” Vodde said. “It was very difficult to leave and say good-bye, and I will always remember that time. But for now, I plan on enjoying life.”

Patrons have lunch in the German Kantine on Ramstein Air Base, Dec. 18, 2017. The German Kantine was contractually sponsored by the 86th Mission Support Group. In cooperation with the German Works Council, authentic German, wholesome, and value-priced meals were offered to the base populace for the last 22 years here. Courtesy photo