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Rita Ann Grudle

August 19, 1924 September 14, 2019
Rita Ann Grudle
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Obituary for Rita Ann Grudle

Rita Ann Jessen Grudle was born Aug. 19, 1924 on a dairy farm at 72nd and Farnam, Omaha, NE. to Louis and Catherine (Stein) Jessen. She moved with her mom and brother Ken into town.

Rita received her education at St. John Catholic School, working after classes to help pay tuition. She spent summers helping on her Aunt Mary’s farm in Carroll, Ia. Rita delighted in all aspects of country living from butchering chickens to using the outhouse. It was here she recognized her dream to marry a farmer and live in the country.

WW II was still raging in 1943, when Rita went to work at the Glen Martin Bomber Plant where they made B-26 and B-29 airplanes. She worked in the gas and tire rationing department. When the War ended, the very day peace was announced, while many celebrated, Rita bought a paper and tracked down a new job working for Andrew Murphy Car Dealership in the parts department.

During these years, Rita kept looking for her “dream farmer”. She loved attending dances at the Chermont SP ballroom in Omaha and there she caught Orvan’s eye by wearing her favorite red dress. As she loved to tell the story, “He was tall, handsome, a good dancer and HE WAS A FARMER!!!” Orvan and Rita were married Oct. 16, 1946 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Omaha. They began married life building a basement house on Orvan’s farm near Tabor, Ia. They worked together the next 56 years developing a successful farm.

Rita loved people! She loved parties! She loved fun and fried chicken! If there was one person or 20 at her door, she deemed it a “PARTY” and put on the coffee. She did not know a stranger.
Rita was an active, faithful member of the Holy Rosary Church. She was also a life time member and officer of The Shady Grove Ladies Club. She especially enjoyed riding on the club’s annual parade float. The sillier it was, the better she liked it.

Rita pursued everything with enthusiasm: oil painting, sewing, decorating cakes, gardening, canning and lawn mowing (which she could be seen doing well into her 90s).
In later years, they built the Grudle Farm Equipment Museum behind the Todd House. When Orvan became ill, Rita dedicated herself to making his last years happy. After his death, Rita stayed on the farm she loved and continued to be active, attending church with Dorothy, coffee times with her neighbors, visiting as an advocate at Tabor Manor, and helping wherever she could. If you said go, Rita was already there. She joked about being a “Go Go Girl” and later, being a “Gone Gone Girl.” During the last few years, Rita loved and appreciated the care givers who came in to help her. Rita treasured living 73 years on her farm.

Rita was preceded in death by husband Orvan and her beloved brother Ken Jessen, Omaha.

Her fun loving spirit will live on in the hearts and memories of all those whose lives she touched.

Funeral Mass will be 10:30 AM Thursday, September 19, 2019 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Glenwood, IA with Fr. Dan Seipker officiating. Visitations will be open 6:00 to 8:00 PM Wednesday at the Crawford-Marshall Funeral Chapel in Tabor, IA. Interment will be in the Glenwood, IA Cemetery and memorials will go to Holy Rosary Catholic Church or the Tabor Historical Society. The Crawford-Marshall Funeral Chapel in Tabor, IA is in charge of arrangements.

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Previous Events





6:00 PM 9/18/2019 6:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 9/18/2019 8:00:00 PM
Crawford-Marshall Funeral Chapel Tabor

602 Orange Street
PO Box 253
Tabor, IA 51653

Open Visitation

Crawford-Marshall Funeral Chapel Tabor
602 Orange Street Tabor 51653 IA
United States





10:30 AM 9/19/2019 10:30:00 AM
Holy Rosary Catholic Church

24116 Marian Ave.
Glenwood, IA 51534

Funeral Mass

Holy Rosary Catholic Church
24116 Marian Ave. Glenwood 51534 IA
United States

Cemetery Details


Glenwood Cemetery Final Resting Place

1105 N. Locust
Glenwood, IA 51534

1105 N. Locust Glenwood 51534 IA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Tabor Historical Society

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

24116 Marian Ave.
Glenwood, IA 51534

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