Rita Ann (Ellingson) Petersen, of Lilydale, passed away peacefully on December 31, 2023, surrounded by family members. Rita was born on August 28, 1948, to Lloyd and Harriet (Hellickson) Ellingson. Rita was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Norman. She is survived by her loving husband Jim, her daughter Michelle (Joe) Sullivan, her son Wade, her grandchildren Winona and Joel, and grandpuppies Gnarley and Chloe. She is also survived by her sisters Diane Matheis and Roxanne (Dennis) Eckholm, her niece Jamacy, nephews Justin, Brent, and Mathew, great nephews Beckham, Lincoln, Jack, and many wonderful friends.
Rita was born and raised in Spring Grove, MN, which she loved and returned to often. She was active in many school and church activities, and grew up working in her family's supper club, The Skyline. After high school she moved to the Twin Cities, where she eventually met the love of her life, Jim, whom she married in 1993. Marrying in mid-life made their time together especially precious and they used it well, entertaining family and friends, enjoying extensive travel, and just being home together. They had a marriage that grew with time, supporting each other through the best and the hardest of days.
Rita was a strikingly beautiful woman who was as comfortable on a runway as attending Spring Grove's Syttende Mai celebration. She was a small-town girl at heart who would order food from her childhood any chance she could. "Old fashioned hot dish always warms the soul," according to Rita.
Rita and Jim want to thank the amazing caregivers and medical staff at the Mayo Clinic and Methodist Hospital in Rochester and Allina Health Hospice and Palliative Care in Minneapolis. These professionals provided exceptional guidance, comfort, and care to Rita.
Rita and Jim are also grateful to her family and their many friends who encircled them during this time, with prayers, cards, food, visits, and other displays of love. Rita felt your support and was so grateful.
A celebration of Rita's life will be held at a later date. Memorials will be given in Rita's name to the Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery, Spring Grove, MN.