.Nels Parrin Ritola, age 71, of Sioux Rapids, Iowa died Nov. 8, 2018 at his home in Sioux Rapids. Nels Parrin Ritola, the son of
George and Valborg (Payne) Ritola, was born in Traverse City, Michigan on Sept. 23, 1947. He was baptized at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Traverse City.
He received his education in Traverse City, graduating from high school in 1966. He continued hiseducationat 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 Jan. 4, 1972 until his honorable discharge on Aug. 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. 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. 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. 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.
.n lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the National Ataxia Foundation in Nels’ memory.