Ellen Ritz, 78,

Posted February 23, 2018 at 4:16 pm

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Ellen Ritz, 78, of Merrill, IA, passed away Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at the Floyd Valley Hospital, Le Mars, IA, surrounded by family.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, February 26, 2018, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church – Ellendale, rural Merrill, Iowa. Father Matthew Solyntjes will celebrate Mass with Father Dan Greving concelebrating. Burial will follow in the Parish Cemetery. Visitation with the family present will be after 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 25 at Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. There will be a Rosary at 5:00 p.m. and a Scriptural Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m., all at the funeral home. Visitation will resume from 9:30 a.m. until service time on Monday at the church. Arrangements are with the Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.rexwinkelfh.com.

 Ellen Marie Schanke was born to Olav and Charlotte (Knepper) Schanke on September 6, 1939, in Sioux City, Iowa. Ellen grew up in Morningside and attended Catholic schools. She graduated from Bishop Heelan in 1957. During her high school years, she met the love of her life, Larry Ritz, and they were married at Immaculate Conception Church on November 30, 1957. They made their home on a farm in rural Plymouth County, where she enjoyed life blessed by her husband, children, family and friends. In addition to being a homemaker and taking care of her family, she had many interests, including owning a decorating business, painting ceramics, and making pies.

Ellen was passionate about her family, church, music, flowers, baking and crafts. She adored her children and grandchildren, and every holiday was carefully planned to make it special for them. Some of her biggest joys in life were spending time with her husband Larry, planning their garden, participating in the Plymouth County Fair, fishing at the lake, and hosting card parties. Ellen spent hours designing her flower beds. She enjoyed baking pies and was known as the “pie lady” to many near and far. Her love of music was part of her daily life, from playing guitar to writing her own songs.

Ellen was a very active member of St. Josephs Ellendale since 1961. She made fresh-cut floral arrangements for the altar, assisted with CCD., was the head of her Church Circle for several years, helped organize and make apple pies for the fall and spring dinners. More than anything else, she loved being the choir director—singing God’s music, playing the guitar, and selecting music for Sundays, holy days, and funeral services. She will be deeply missed within her parish and amongst the friends and family that she made there.

Ellen will be remembered for always lending a helping hand and being empathetic to other’s needs.

Ellen will be deeply missed by her husband Larry and their eight children: Patrick (Victoria) Ritz, Akron, IA; Sheri (Allen) Jordan, Sioux Falls, SD; Kim (Greg) Silvernagel, Piney Point, MD; Kenneth (Penny) Ritz, Sioux City, IA; Steven (Sherry) Ritz, Merrill, IA; Edward Ritz, Westfield, IA; Cindy Meister, Geneva, IL; and Peggy Ritz, St. Charles, IL. They have 23 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and 2 blessings on the way. She is also survived by her twin sister Marie Stibbs; her mother-in-law Helen Ritz; and her in-laws, Dennis Smith, Margy (Bob) Huewe, and Ronn (Diane) Ritz.

She is greeted in Heaven by her parents Olav and Charlotte Schanke, her daughter Connie Jo Ritz, her son-in-law Chris Swartzbaugh, her father-in-law Edward Ritz, her sister-in-law Karen Smith, and other family members.

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