April 25, 2023 at 8:37 p.m.

Rita H. Ritter

Rita H. Ritter
Rita H. Ritter


Rita H. Ritter, 94, of Freeport, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, April 21, 2023, at Mother of Mercy Nursing Home in Albany.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 28, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Freeport with the Rev. Daniel Walz officiating.  Interment will be in the parish cemetery. 

Visitation will be 4-7 p.m., Thursday, April 27, and 10:30-11:30 a.m. April 28 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Freeport. Parish prayers will be at 4 p.m. followed by the Christian Women and Young at Heart Club at 6 p.m. Thursday at the church.

Rita Helen Van Heel was born April 18, 1929, in Krain Township, Stearns County, to Anton and Mary (Arnzen) Van Heel. She was united in marriage to Gilbert “Gib”  Ritter July 13, 1954, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in St. Francis. Together, Gilbert and Rita had six children and built a beautiful life.

She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Freeport, the Christian Women and the Young at Heart Club. Rita was an amazing and strong woman. Every summer she would grow a vegetable garden, make the world’s best pickles and go for bike rides on her trike with her grandkids. She also enjoyed reading, playing cards, doing puzzles and was an excellent quilter.

Survivors include her children, Ronald (Elaine) Ritter of Freeport, Judy (Bob) Theisen of St. Francis, Joseph (Brenda) Ritter of Little Falls, Mary Katherine Carlson of Three Rivers, Michigan, Steven Ritter (Tina Rust) of Grand Rapids, and Linda (Brian) Gertken of Albany; 17 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren; and sister Bertha Lueken of Cold Spring.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert “Gib” Ritter, June 11, 2002; parents; brothers and sisters Alphonse Van Heel, Rose Douvier, Hilda Forster, Walburga Ebnet, Julietta Van Heel, Edmund Van Heel and Marie Kleve; and son-in-law Phil Carlson.

A special thank you to the staff at Mother of Mercy Nursing Home and Moments Hospice for their many years of care for our mother.

Arrangements were made with Patton-Schad Funeral and Cremation Services, of Freeport.




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