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Nels Parrin Ritola

September 23, 1947 ~ November 8, 2018 (age 71)

Nels Parrin Ritola, age 71, of Sioux Rapids, Iowa died November 8, 2018 at his home in Sioux Rapids. 

Memorial services will take place Friday, November 16, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Rapids. Visitation will take place Thursday, November 15, 2018 from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Sliefert Funeral Home in Sioux Rapids. The Sliefert Funeral Home in Sioux Rapids is in charge of the arrangements. 

Nels Parrin Ritola, the son of George and Valborg (Payne) Ritola, was born in Traverse City, Michigan on September 23, 1947. He was baptized at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Traverse City and confirmed at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Traverse City. 
   
He received his education in Traverse City graduating from high school in 1966. He continued his education at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1971. Nels then attended the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois where he attained his Master of Divinity Degree in 1985. 
   
Nels faithfully served his country in the United States Army from January 4, 1972 until his honorable discharge on August 22, 1982.  
   
On May 23, 1970, Nels was united in marriage to Gretchen Schlichter in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and the couple was blessed with five children: Bill, Kirstin, Karin, Kim, and Christi. 
   
Nels’ first career was a carpenter. Following his theological training, he served in the ELCA and his first placement was a joint charge in Dalton and Broadwater, Nebraska.  He later served a congregation in Gothenburg, Nebraska. Due to health issues, he was no longer able to continue in his ministerial duties after 1998, but he remained active in the congregations in Emerson, Nebraska. He came to make his home in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, in 2015.
   
Nels was still a member in good standing with the Nebraska ELCA Synod and had served as a volunteer fireman when he resided in Dalton, Nebraska. Special interests of Nels’ included hunting, fishing, woodworking carpentry, and gardening. His children were a very important part of his life and he was very involved in all of their activities.
   
Nels’ life is honored and cherished by his family which include his children: Bill (Jennifer) Coty of Traverse City, Michigan; Kirstin (Adam) Cowan of Orlando, Florida; Karin (Dan) Strohmyer of Sioux Rapids, Iowa; Kim Ritola and Adam Hartman of Leesburg, Virginia; and Christi (Cory) Wulf of Lincoln, Nebraska; 11 grandchildren; one brother, Lars (Judy) Ritola of Traverse City, Michigan; one sister, Karen( Matt) Gore of Vero Beach, Florida; other extended family and many friends.
   
He was preceded in death by his parents, and two brothers: Ole and William.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the National Ataxia Foundation in Nels’ memory

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