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Dubuque, IA 52001
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Memories & Candles

“Mary and Paul---Donna and I were saddened to hear of Rita's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. ”
1 of 3 | Posted by: Larry and Donna McCoy - Sherrard, IL

“Cheryl, so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family ”
2 of 3 | Posted by: Barb Trifone - Dubuque, IA

“Mary, Cheryl, Laura, Toni & family,My deepest sympathy to all of you during this difficult time. I have so many fond memories of sleep overs at Aunt...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Dawn Mathe (Tschiggfrie) - Adams, WI


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Rita A. Johns, age 85, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 11:50 p.m., on Monday, May 14, 2018, at Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque, surrounded by her loving family. To honor Rita's life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Grace Baptist Church, 3966 Asbury Road, with Pastor Billy Carter and Tony Johnson officiating. To celebrate Rita's life, family and friends may visit from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on Friday, May 18, 2018, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Rita was born on July 27, 1932, in Dubuque, Iowa, daughter of John and Teresa (Duschen) Tschiggfrie.

Rita was born and raised in Dubuque and would go on to complete her entire 85 year earthly journey right here in God's country. She eventually met her soul-mate, John Johns, and the two were united in marriage on December 31, 1949, at the Church of the Nativity. They would be truly blessed with 58 wonderful years together, and 4 lovely daughters, before John was sadly called home ahead of Rita on June 22, 2008. Rita fully embraced her role as wife, mother and homemaker; faithfully caring for her husband and children and always keeping meticulous care of their home. She was an absolute natural in the kitchen and everyone always looked forward, not only to the delicious meals she prepared daily, but especially to the sweet treats for dessert which she was famous for. Rita enjoyed spending time doing the simple things in life; such as tending to her bountiful garden, creating her next latch hook masterpiece, curling up with a good book, keeping her mind sharp working on her latest word search, or even finally earning her G.E.D. while still in her early 50's. She was also known to enjoy a spirited game of Euchre with family and friends, as every true Dubuquer does from time to time. Above all though, family was what brought the most joy into Rita's days. She looked forward to every opportunity to spend time with John and the girls, and when the grandchildren came along you would be hard pressed to find a more doting grandmother. Rita's faith was also a very important aspect of her life, and her personal relationship with her Lord and Savior were continually reinforced with her faith family at Grace Baptist Church. Our hearts and minds are deeply broken today by the sudden physical absence of our dearly sweet mother, grandmother, sister and friend; but we know and trust that Rita's soul now rest safely in the loving arms of her Creator and that her and John have now begun their beautiful eternal courtship. Thank you Rita for all of the love, lessons and life you shared with us while you were here and may we carry your legacy forward with pride until we meet again.

Those left to cherish Rita's memory include

her children,
Mary (Paul) Swartzel, Dubuque, IA,
Cheryl (Jeff) Chiott, Dubuque, IA,
Laura (Tony) Johnson, Dubuque, IA
and Toni (Robert) Backes, Peosta, IA;

her grandchildren,
Chad (Naomi) Johns, Angela (Pete) Román, Adam (Josie) Johnson, Anthony Johnson, Tabitha (Alex) Stuart, Brooke (Tim) Leonard and Ben (fiancé Katelyn Short) Backes;

her great-grandchildren,
Kristopher, Raeann and Lila Stuart, Brooke and Aidan Román, Landon, Lauren and Logan Leonard;

her brothers,
William (Janet) Tschiggfrie, Veronia, OR
and Eugene (Carol) Tschiggfrie, Slidell, LA;

a sister-in-law,
Phyllis Tschiggfrie, Asbury, IA;

and several nieces and nephews.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents; her loving husband, John Johns; and her siblings, Ardelle (Richard) Genthe, Thomas Tschiggfrie, Kenneth Tschiggfrie and Ray Tschiggfrie.

In lieu of flowers, a Rita A. Johns memorial fund has been established, which will be distributed among her favorite charities.

Rita's family would like to extend a special thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at Mercy Hospital, and Stonehill, for their kind, attentive and professional care of Rita, and her family.