Welcome to the memorial page for

Senator Sheldon Lowell Rittmer

September 5, 1928 ~ November 21, 2015 (age 87)

Share using:         


November 29, 2015

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Schultz Funeral Homes
722 8th Street
DeWitt, IA 52742

Service of Christian Burial
November 30, 2015

10:30 AM
Elvira Zion Lutheran Church
2207 380th Avenue
Clinton, IA 52732

Senator Sheldon L. Rittmer, 87, of DeWitt, died Saturday morning, November 21, 2015, at Trinity Medical Center-Bettendorf of complications of a zenker diverticulum.

He was born September 5, 1928, in Clinton, Iowa, to Elmer and Lois (Hass) Rittmer.  Sheldon was a 1946 graduate of DeWitt High School and attended Clinton Community College.  He was a lifelong Clinton County resident and crop and livestock farmer. Sheldon and Elaine Heneke were married at First Lutheran Church in Maquoketa on June 11, 1950.

Sheldon was a former member of First Lutheran Church, Maquoketa where he served as Deacon and Chairman of the Congregation. He was a current member of Elvira Zion Lutheran Church. Sheldon began his years of service locally as a member and chairman of the Farm Service Board of Clinton and Jackson County and the Clinton County Extension Council.  He was also a former president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau and a voting delegate.  From 1978-90, Sheldon served on the Clinton County Board of Supervisors, alternating as chairman.  While serving as Supervisor, he was also a member of the State of Iowa Supervisors Executive Board.  Sheldon also belonged to Farm Bureau, Clinton County Cattlemen, Clinton County Pork Producers, DeWitt Lions, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Izaak Walton League, Central Community Historical Society, Clinton County Historical Society, DeWitt, Clinton and Quad Cities Chambers of Commerce and the Republican Party. He received the Iowa Conservation Award and the Iowa State Police Association Legislative Award.

He served in the 74th-79th sessions of the Iowa General Assembly in the 19th district.  During his capital career he served on and was chairman of the State Government, Transportation, Small Business, and Economic Development committees, and the Health and Human Rights Appropriations Sub-Committee.  As chair of State Government, Senator Rittmer led the pursuit and passage of many bills involving licensing, Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS), police & fire protection pensions, eminent domain, campaign finance, election laws and casino and gambling regulation. He served on and chaired state agency boards and commissions including the Investment Board of IPERS, Administrative Rules Review Committee, Iowa Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Commission, Elder Affairs, and International Relations Committee.  In his service to his constituents, he was attentive to detail and others’ concerns, and was especially responsive to phone calls and letters. Senator Rittmer once traveled to Russia as part of a legislative delegation and enjoyed learning about different cultures.  He came home reassured that the United States was the greatest country in the world.

Above all, Sheldon was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend.  One of his very favorite activities was talking to people of all ages and in all walks of life.  Sheldon enjoyed getting to know everyone, and had a knack for remembering names.  He was an avid newspaper and farm magazine reader, always following the farm markets and watching local, state and national news.  Sheldon enjoyed playing cards with his family, especially penny poker, euchre, hearts, spades, etc., attending cattle sales, grandkids’ school activities, traveling in the western states enroute to Arizona to visit his son, and participating in the Bix with his daughter and granddaughters.  He was a generous person, always remembering several non-profit organizations.

Surviving are his wife, Elaine, a daughter and son-in-law, Lynnette and Dennis Jones of rural DeWitt, grandchildren, Chandra (Darin) Farrey of Iowa City, Robin (Kate Dornbos) Jones of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Carmen (Christopher Nieland) Jones of Miles and Mark Rittmer of Arizona, step-grandchildren, David Buechel of Arizona and Robert Buechel of California, great-grandchildren, Tristan and Addison Farrey of Iowa City, brothers, Alyn Rittmer and Orville Rittmer of DeWitt, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Preceding Sheldon in death were his parents, sons, baby Paul, Robbie, and Kenneth, an infant grandson, Christopher Jones, and a brother, Russell Rittmer.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Schultz Funeral Home, DeWitt, from 2:00 until 6:00 p.m. Sunday, November 29th.  A Service of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, November 30th at Elvira Zion Lutheran Church with the Rev. Jealaine Marple officiating.  Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery, DeWitt.

Condolences may be expressed and a photo tribute viewed at




© 2019 Schultz Funeral Homes. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS