Rita M. Gravley


Rita Mary Gravley (Reckers), age 79, passed away peacefully surrounded by her three girls at the Lund House by Mercy in Gilbert, Arizona, on January 7, 2023. In a perfect transition to her heavenly home, her daughters shared memories, music and most of all love.

Rita was born on May 6, 1943 in Adrian, MN where she attended St. Adrian Catholic School graduating in 1961. She went on to attend Mankato Commercial College, graduating with a diploma in business and secretarial studies. Rita spent her early career in banking and secretarial work at the University of Minnesota Hospital.

Rita was married to Ron Johanning February 27, 1965, and to this union three daughters were born. Rita was later united in marriage to Gene Gravley on February 21, 1976. Rita is survived by her devoted and loving husband of 47 years, Gene Gravley of New London, MN and Queen Creek, Arizona, daughters Jackie Johanning Probst, Worthington, MN, Jeanne Herrmann (Brian) of Hudson, WI, Jill Pulsifer (John) of Belgrade, MN and chosen daughter Kris Gilbertson of New London, MN. Rita is survived by her sisters, Margaret Peterson (Lynn), Sue McCann (Tom), sister-in-law Suzanne Helland (Tyrone), Jon and Kathy Gravley, Linda Gravley and her ultimate love and joy, grandchildren Megan Probst, Mari Probst, Alex Herrmann (Samantha), Cody Pulsifer (Kalley), Kyle Pulsifer, Luke Gilbertson (Courtney), and Sam Gilbertson (Tylar).

Rita is remembered fondly by her nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and many dear friends, especially RSVP with so many beautiful memories of special outings and many get-togethers.

Rita is preceded in death by her parents Wilfred “Pork” and Berenice (Fischenich) Reckers, sister and brother-in-law Julie and Elmer Schweitzer and infant sister Mary, in-laws Larry and Beverly Gravley, Mark Gravley, 2D Lee and chosen son-in-law, Ed Gilbertson.

As a woman of deep faith, Rita was active in her church Our Lady of Lakes Catholic Church where she taught CCD, participated in small group and bible study and sang beautifully at every service often harmonizing and adding her unique voice to each celebration.

Rita had many passions, several of which were shared with family, friends and neighbors. She lovingly shared her talents by gifting Christmas ornaments, quilts, afghans, Kringla and other homemade treasures. Rita loved spending time with family sharing fond memories of vacations at Leech Lake with her sisters as kids learning to waterski and enjoying time together. Time with her children and grandchildren was her favorite time spent, in particular, each year celebrating Thanksmas with the whole crazy crew before heading south for the winter. Rita and Gene loved to travel, starting with their treasured honeymoon in Hawaii, camping and fishing, and later seeing the country in their motorhome and finally permanently spending winters in Arizona. They loved doing the crossword puzzle together each Sunday, spending quiet evenings watching their favorite shows or reading and their shared love of watching sports. Rita and Gene were blessed to have a home on the river in a neighborhood of family and close friends later moving into town.

A celebration of life is planned for 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 5, 2023 at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Spicer. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 pm. Thursday, May 4, 2023 at the Johnson Funeral Home in New London and for one hour prior to the service at church. Burial will be in the Oak Hill Cemetery in New London. If you wish to honor Rita’s life, please consider a gift to the Mayo Clinic Foundation or your charity of choice. Rita’s authentic service and selfless love will continue to shine brightly in those who were honored to know and love her.

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