Rita Theisen, age 96, of Canby, Minnesota, passed away on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. on Monday, August 12, 2019 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Gary, SD. Burial will be at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery in Canby, MN. Visitation will be 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. with a 5:00 p.m. prayer service with Rosary to follow on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Gary, SD. The Houseman Funeral Home of Canby is entrusted with the arrangement.

Rita Theisen was born on December 22, 1922 in Granville, Iowa, to Herman and Josephine (Kock) Ahlers. Rita touched the lives of all who knew her. She grew up in the Granville area and lived with her parents until she was united in marriage, on January 22, 1945, to the love of her life, Reynold Theisen. To this union, God abundantly blessed them with 13 children. A devoted wife and mother, she always put her family first. The biggest joy in Rita’s life was her husband and family.

Rita and Reynold farmed near Remsen, Iowa until they moved in January 1957 to a farm 17 miles North West of Canby, Minnesota. Rita lived on the farm until March 2015. She moved into an assisted living in Canby, then shortly to the Hendricks Nursing Home until her passing.
Rita was a wonderful, kind, faith-filled women who prayed the Rosary every day and attended church religiously. Faith was one of the most important, strongest parts of Rita’s life. She was an active member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Catholic order of Foresters, St. Peters Altar Society and American Legion Auxiliary. She lived out her faith, leaving a lasting impression on everyone she met. She was a very caring and compassionate person, who had a big, loving and generous heart. Rita was committed to serving and uplifting others and was always putting the needs of others before her own. She faithfully took care of her husband, Ray, when he had Parkinson’s. Caring for him with such a positive attitude and let’s not forget the amount of patience and understanding she possessed. Rita always said, “A family that prays together, stays together.”

Rita’s calling in life was to be a Mom. She was the best, most wonderful mother. She instilled in her children morals, values, navigating with them through countless life lessons and helped all her children grow to where they are today. She was ambitious and worked hard all her life. Rita was wonderful at gardening, cooking/baking from scratch, sewing/quilting, cross-stitching and faithfully taking care of a house full of people. Her house was never quiet or empty. She was happiest surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Rita loved Ray unconditionally for their 61 years of marriage. During their lifetime together, she treasured taking road trips with Ray, playing cards, Sunday visits, going out with friends, and most of all Rita loved her family gatherings.

We will remember her smile, her sweet and simple demeanor, and most of all her greatest love for her faith, family and friends. Heaven gained an amazing Angel when God called our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother home. Left to cherish in our hearts her many wonderful memories are: Gary (Paula Bindert) of Canby, MN, Jim (Joan Propst) of Canby, MN, Donald (Karen Sullivan) of Oak Grove, MN, Steve (Mary Gauger) of Dell Rapids, SD, John of Sioux Falls, SD, Paul (Diana Sowers) of Canby, MN, 5 daughters: Mary Ann (Marlin Hartig) of York, NE, Carol (Lyle Norton) of Watertown, SD, Joyce (Steve McCormick) of Gary, SD, Sharon (Jerome Kaiser) of White, SD, and Rosemary (Monte Winrow) of Gary, SD; daughter-in-law, Darlene (Bauman) Theisen of Clear Lake, SD, 40 grandchildren; 7 step-grandchildren; 58 great-grandchildren; 16 step-great-grandchildren; and 1 step-great-great-grandchild. They are the luckiest grandchildren to have such an amazing grandmother, and now their very own Angel in Heaven to watch over them. Sister, Clara and brother, Edward Ahlers; sisters-in-law: Yvonne and Helen Theisen and Joan Cronin; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ready to greet Rita in Heaven are her husband, Reynold; sons: Joseph and Kenneth; grandsons: Greg Theisen and Jason Hartig; 1 step-grandson, Phil Sowers; her parents, Herman and Josephine Ahlers; brothers: Herman, Arnold, Vincent, Clarence, Ray, Bernard and Urban Ahlers; sister, Helen Ahlers; 2 half-sisters: Mrs. Mike (Kathryn) Steffes and Mrs. Henry (Agatha) Steffes; sisters-in-law: Norma Ahlers, Terry Weiler, Sally Henke, Rita McCarty, Shirley Gengler, and Lois Theisen; brothers-in-law: Gilbert Weiler, Elmer, Cyril, Ivan Theisen, Dave McCarty, Sonny Gengler, Joe Cronin and Richard Henke.