Rita B. Jarvis, 78Rita B. Jarvis, age 78, of Faribault, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 15, at her residence.
Rita B. Jarvis, age 78, of Faribault, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 15, at her residence.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 139 Mercy Dr., Faribault. Interment will be at the Meadow Ridge Memorial Park in Faribault. Visitation will be held at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home & Crematory in Faribault from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday and on Wednesday for 1 hour prior to the services at the church.
On Feb. 18, 1933, Werner and Margaret (Ruhoff) Otto of Foley, Minn., welcomed Rita Berdina into their world. The devout Catholic family eventually expanded to nine children - six daughters, three sons. Each Sunday the kids were scrubbed up, dressed in their Sunday best, and marched to church, filling up an entire church pew.
In the lingering days of the Great Depression, Rita, being the oldest daughter, quickly learned to run a household. Her workload increased as baby after baby arrived. She made soap. She could single-handedly chase down a farmyard chicken, butcher it, and have it ready for the family to eat before the parents came home. Tender dandelion shoots from the backyard were standard fare for salads. During the summer, farm produce was the staple, the surplus put up for winter. Cabbage was sliced to make sauerkraut in large stoneware crocks. Her dad being restless, the family moved frequently; adjustments to new schools were many. At the height of World War II, Rita, 10 years old, was sent to live with another family as there were too many mouths to feed. Although she had frequent weekends back home, Rita would forever hold a special place in her heart for the family that took her in - the Willie and Pat Cook family of St. Peter.
Having faith, taking care of siblings, and learning to cook and sew prepared Rita for the years ahead. As she grew, Rita, brother Francis, and sisters loved to dance. They would drive from LeSueur to dances held at the KATO Ballroom and area dance halls. As fate would have it, she met and danced with Harlan Jarvis at Hardigger's near LeCenter. He was on military leave. Rita and Harlan fell in love, married, and contributed mightily to the post-war baby boom with nine living children - six daughters, three sons - the Otto family pattern! As the babies kept coming, Harlan lovingly called their home "The Seventh Street Hatchery." Sadly, their marriage ran aground - but with grim determination, Rita vowed to keep the entire brood under one roof. It was a proud day when she made her last mortgage payment for the house on Seventh Street. In spite of being a single mother raising nine children, Rita often remarked in later years (incredibly) that her best days were when her kids were little. In between mountains of laundry and ironing and being a fearless handyman, Rita also found time to become an accomplished bowler and to take family trips to Wisconsin.
Rita's favorite jobs also served as social outlets - waiting tables at The Stump on Roberds Lake, or Mealey's, or the Huckleberry Inn. Customer tips bought many groceries for the next day's meals. Her last employer was Sheldahl in Northfield. She was a security guard and worker. A great source of pride in retirement were her many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. A recent five-generation photo was Rita's culminating glory. In her free time, Rita stitched lovely needlepoint gifts and took trips to area casinos, getting lucky a few times.
With determination, perseverance and sacrifice, Rita instilled in her children the important things in life: the value of family, morality, a work ethic, and a belief in God. This inheritance will continue to serve the family in her absence, an inner compass to navigate the complexities of life.
Rita is survived by her daughters Joan (Tony) Jasinski, Rebecca Lambert, Janelle (Ray) LaCanne, Rochelle (Robert) Cloutier, all of Faribault, Laurie (Rick Sargent) Murray of Waseca, baby Theresa (Bryon) Bresser of Faribault; by her sons, Jeff (Dorothy DeJong) Jarvis of Waterville, Joe (Julie) Jarvis, Jerry (Jackie) Jarvis; and special friend, Orlando "Ole" Swanson of Faribault; her sisters Cathy (Glenn) Jarchow and Mary (Earl) Anderson of New Richmond, Wis., Rosella (LaVern) Kattre of Hudson, Wis., Delores (Don) Johnson of Pahrump, Nev.; brothers Roman (Gertrude) Otto of Columbia, S.C. and Mark (Tyara) Otto of Williamsburg, Va.; 21 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
Rita was preceded in death by former husband and father of her children, Harlan Jarvis; her parents, Werner and Margaret Otto; brother Francis Otto; sister Ann Lukes; infant daughter Diane; grandchildren Chase and Finley LaCanne, Shannon and Grace Hermans, and Wendi Liverseed.
For further information and guestbook, please visit www.ParkerKohlFuneralHome.com.
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