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Rita Howe

Celebration of Life service is Wednesday, March 28, 11:00 AM at the Sharon Center United Methodist Church rural Kalona.  Burial in the church cemetery.  Visitation is Tuesday 4-7 pm at the Peterseim Funeral Home, Kalona

Rita Marie (Maas) Howe, of rural Riverside, died peacefully at home Friday evening, March 23rd with family by her side.

Rita was born in rural Kalona on December 6, 1932, to Meredith and Florence (Bontrager) Maas.  She grew up on the family farm and graduated from Kalona High School in 1951.  Rita then went on to college at Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and graduated with a degree in Home Economics.

Following college she worked for Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids and met Edgar R. Howe.  They were married in 1957 in Cedar Rapids.  To this marriage, three children were born.  Scott (Laurie) Howe, Sheryl (Gary Bahr) Howe and Michelle Howe.

After living on the east coast for 15 years, Rita was able to return to Iowa in 1977, to the family home where she passed away.

Rita was an active member of the Sharon Center United Methodist Church, where she was involved in the United Methodist Women, was a financial secretary and served on the Staff Parish Relations Committee.

In 1979, she began working at the Toyota dealership where she developed many long-standing relationships with co-workers and customers alike.  She retired from there in 2004.  After retirement she served as a guide at the Kalona Historical Village until August of 2011.

Rita adored her four grandchildren:  Andrew, Austin, Anne Marie and Parker.  She loved living in the country and entertaining friends from the community, particularly after someone had experienced a loss.  She will be remembered for her many acts of kindness and love.  Rita was blessed with special friends that she loved deeply throughout her life.  Other survivors include a sister in law, Donna Maas of Kalona, an aunt, Lois Swartzendruber, several nieces and nephews and cousins.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Meredith and Florence Maas Sr., her brothers Meredith Maas, Jr., and Donald Maas; many aunts, uncles and a beloved niece, Melinda Maas.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to the Sharon Center United Methodist Church.

The family is extremely grateful to the Sharon Center United Methodist Church community, neighbors, family and friends for their support during our mom's illness.  The many cards, meals and flowers will not be forgotten, as well as the choir and "glow-light" singers performing.  Thank you also to Iowa City Hospice for their care and compassion.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rita Howe, please visit our flower store.


Dear Mom,I spoke a few words at your funeral, but have again learned that lesson to "leave nothing unsaid." So, I still have some things to share and this seemed like the right place to do it. Although no one may read it, at least I put the words down. I cant thank you enough for being the kind of mother most kids would dream of. Always there for us, always loving us, always being my biggest fan and cheerleader. You believed in me when I couldn't believe in myself. I love you so much and I know that you knew that. You always said you were a "delayed reactionist" and I know this is something I inherited, like so many other things. The gift of cooking, is not one of them though, unfortunately. This is so hard, but I know you would say "it'll be alright.Dont cry." You meant so much to so many, you left a great legacy. I'm proud to be your daughter and to have called you Mom. RIP, until we meet again.

Michelle Howe Mar 30 2012 12:00 AM

To Rita's Family, your mom was a great lady and will truely be missed.

Curtis Banes Mar 27 2012 12:00 AM

To Rita's Family, I was saddened to hear the news of Rita. She was a wonderful woman and will be dearly missed by myself and so many others. I will miss her calls to me and our little chats. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers as you go thru this difficult time. ~Deshawn, Sharon Center UMC Secretary

Deshawn Butterbaugh Mar 27 2012 12:00 AM

I've only known Rita since 1999 but she was a wonderful, warm person and she'll be missed by everyone at Sharon Center UMC. May all of your wonderful memories keep her in your hearts forever.

joan dinnel Mar 25 2012 12:00 AM

To the family of Rita,It will be hard to go home and visit Sharon Center UMC without Rita present. What a sweet lady and will be greatly missed.

Amber Culver Johnson Mar 24 2012 12:00 AM