Rita A. Schmitz, 89

Rita Anne (Bauman) Schmitz, age 89, of Sleepy Eye, formerly of Delano, died Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, at her son’s home in Springfield.

She was born April 14, 1928, in Delano, the fourth child of Herbert and Catherine (Muckenhirn) Bauman.

After graduating from Delano High School, Rita attended the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, where she received a teaching certificate. She secured employment at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sleepy Eye, residing at the Sisters of St. Francis convent and teaching elementary school.

One spring Sunday morning, she was introduced to E. Peter Schmitz. They celebrated their marriage at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Delano, June 21, 1951, and moved to the Schmitz Homestead Farm, east of Sleepy Eye, where they operated a dairy, farmed, and raised their family.

Rita was devoted to her husband, her children, and her faith. She worked tirelessly alongside her husband to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to her children.

She was an avid gardener and grew a great deal of the food that her large family consumed every day, as well as generously sharing the fruits of her labor with neighbors or visitors to her home.

For many years, Rita and her children raised large flocks of chickens for meat and eggs, and also grew and harvested cucumbers for commercial sale.

In the 1970s, Rita and Peter left their farm for a period of time, while Peter managed an Insurance Agency in Montevideo. They returned to their cherished farm in 1978, and Rita remained there until shortly after Peter’s death.

Rita moved to her son, Dan and his wife, Amy’s home in Springfield in 2013, where she lived out her remaining years surrounded by family love.

Rita is survived by her 13 children, David (Natalia), Joseph (Pauline), William (Suk), Marita, Catherine (Steve) Smith, Peter (Peg), Clare (Kevin) Bjork, Paul (Deb), Anthony (Lisa), Ann (John) Schotzko, Carmella (Robert) Leggon, Daniel (Amy) and Jonathon (Amber); 49 grandchildren; and 35 great -grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, E. Peter, she was preceded in death by her parents; infant daughter, Elizabeth; brothers, Joseph, John and Clarence Bauman; and sisters, Catherine Bauer and Dorothy Jean Griep.

Mass of Christian Burial took place Thursday, Feb. 22 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sleepy Eye, with Monsignor Lozinske officiating. Interment was at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Sleepy Eye.

There was visitation Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Sturm Funeral Home in Sleepy Eye, continuing Thursday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the funeral home. The Sturm Funeral Home in Sleepy Eye handled the arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.sturmfh.com.

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