Rita M. Krochalk, 95 of Duluth, MN (formerly, Milwaukee, WI), passed away on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at St. Mary’s Medical Center of Duluth, MN.
Rita was born on June 3, 1928, in Stevens Point, WI, the daughter of Raymond and Mary (Dehlinger) Peabody. She attended Stevens Point Teachers College earning a bachelor’s degree in education, Layton School of the Arts, and UW-Milwaukee for art education. She moved to the Milwaukee area where she met John Carl Krochalk Jr. On March 2, 1957, Rita and John were married in Stevens Point. They were active members of St. Therese Church and the Christian Family Movement in Milwaukee. The couple had six children. After the death of John, Rita raised their 6 children, instilling in them the gifts of seeking justice and fair treatment of all peoples. She was immensely proud of all her children and loved them unconditionally. Rita was an elementary school teacher in Portage, West Allis, and Milwaukee, WI. She finished her career as an art teacher at Wisconsin Avenue School in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She often said that “art is the first language.” After her retirement, Rita traveled the world with her dear friend, Paul Holman. Rita moved to Duluth in her late eighties where she was lovingly cared for by her son, Joel, and daughter-in-law, Susan. Rita was active in the Duluth community and was a member of the Duluth Art Institute Open Art Studio, the Victory Chorus, and The Twin Ports Church, among other organizations. Rita loved nature and enjoyed exploring the beauty of Duluth. She spent her last months as a cherished member of the Aftenro Senior Living Community. Rita made an impression on all who she met with her sincere interest in them and her zest for life.
She is survived by 5 children: Rita Kathryn Ligocki of Mesa, AZ; Jennifer (Ronald, Sr.) Poppie of Ettrick, WI; Maggie (Alex) Krochalk of St. Francis, WI; Joel (Susan) Krochalk of Duluth, MN; and Molly Krochalk-Young (Morris) of Madison, WI.
She is also survived by 13 grandchildren: Ronald jr. (Abby), Anna (Mike), Laura, John (Rosana), Daniel (Sarah), Jessica, Sandra (Daniel), Jacob, Micah, Maudie, Rosly, Caleb, and Collin (Lexie); 11 great-grandchildren; her sister Dorothy (Robert) Jankowski of Menasha, WI, sister-law Edith McTrusty (Gary), and brother-in-law David (Carol) Krochalk; and many loving family members and friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents; husband, John Carl; son, Jonathan; and siblings, Mary K (Michael) Higgins, Raymond “Bud” (Mary Ann) Peabody, Janet (Robert) Rienzi, and Judy Nauert. Judy recently passed away on July 9, 2023. She is also preceded by brother-in-law Thomas Krochalk (Dorothy) and sister-in-law Carol Zoschke (Al).
A celebration of Rita’s life followed by visitation and fellowship will be held on August 20, 2023 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Duluth, MN, 835 W. College St, Duluth, MN, 55811. Visitation will be from 1:00PM - 1:30PM. A time of sharing and remembrance, with singing by the Victory Chorus, follows the visitation, ending at 2:30PM. Fellowship and refreshments will be served. Surface and underground parking is available.
A second celebration of life will be held on Saturday October 7, 2023 at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, Stein Campus at 2801 E. Morgan Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207. Visitation will be from 1:00PM-1:30PM, with a time of remembrance beginning at 1:30PM, followed by light refreshments, concluding at 3:00PM.
Memorials to: Victory Chorus of Duluth https://www.thevictorychorus.org/ The Southeastern WI Chapter for the Alliance for the Mentally Ill https://namisoutheastwi.org/get-involved/donate/