Elaine Rittmer, 90, of DeWitt Iowa, passed away Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, following a brief illness.
Elaine Esther Heneke was born February 4, 1931, to Herman and Clara (Luett) Heneke in rural Lost Nation, Iowa. After graduating from Delmar High School, she received her teaching certificate from Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls and taught K-7 in a one room schoolhouse. Elaine and Sheldon L. Rittmer were married at First Lutheran Church in Maquoketa on June 11, 1950. The couple farmed outside Elwood and Elaine also substitute taught at Elwood schools. She later returned to school, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Library Science from Marycrest College in Davenport, while serving as the school librarian for Wheatland and Calamus schools. She then earned her Masters of Education at Western Illinois University. She retired from Camanche Schools as the Library Media Specialist in 1996. She continued to help her husband on the farm and supported his political career as an Iowa State Senator, serving as his legislative assistant from 1997-2002. Sheldon preceded her in death on November 21, 2015.
In earlier years, Elaine enjoyed keeping a large garden and a freezer stocked with pies and cookies. She was a PTA mother and 4-H leader. She was a member of Elvira Zion Lutheran Church and was active with the Clinton County Republicans. Elaine later enjoyed walking and traveling the world with Sheldon, and thoroughly enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her daughter, Lynnette (Dennis) Jones of DeWitt; grandchildren, Chandra (Darin) Farrey of Maple Grove, Minnesota, Robin (Kate Dornbos) Jones of Midland, Michigan, Carmen (Christopher Nieland) Jones of Miles and Mark Rittmer of Thailand, step-grandchildren, David Buechel and Robert Buechel, great-grandchildren, Tristan and Addison Farrey; sisters-in-law, Joan Heneke and Norma Heneke; and nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by sons, baby Paul, Robbie, and Kenneth; an infant grandson, Christopher Jones; a sister, Dorothy Hanson, and twin brothers, Howard and Harlan Heneke.
Visitation will be from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Schultz Funeral Home, DeWitt. A Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in the funeral home with the Rev. Jealaine Marple officiating. Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery, DeWitt.
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