Eleanor Rygh, 92, Lake Mills, passed away at her home Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, at Salem Lutheran Church, Lake Mills, with Pastor Joel L. Guttormson officiating. Burial will be in Salem Memorial Cemetery, rural Lake Mills. Mittelstadt Funeral Home, Lake Mills, is in charge of arrangements.
Eleanor (Reisem) Rygh was born June 3, 1925, in Silverton, Ore., to her parents Rev. E.L. and Olga (Halvorson) Reisem. Eleanor attended the majority of her school years in North Dakota, where her father was called to serve as minister. After her father next accepted a call in Iowa, she finished her high school years in Lake Mills, graduating in 1943 as salutatorian.
Eleanor worked for the Graphic Publishing Company in high school for a few years after and was known for her skills as a proofreader. She made lifelong friendships with some of her co-workers.
Having a father as a pastor, she learned to play the piano at a young age and was gifted with the ability to play songs simply after listening to them. It was while playing music at a funeral service, that she met her future husband, James B. Rygh. The couple was wed May 10, 1946, at the Little Brown Church, Nashua. They made their home in St. Louis, Mo., while James finished mortuary school. They moved their family a few times throughout North Iowa, and finally back to Lake Mills in 1949. Eleanor was a devoted wife and mother, and a very proud grandma; she was extremely proud of the fact that all of her grandchildren had a college education and good jobs.
Eleanor was an active member at Salem Lutheran Church: teaching Tuesday school, Sunday school, providing music for WELCA and occasionally for Saturday night services, and serving as the president of her circle. She kept busy reading, playing board games, and watching game shows on TV . . . everyone knew not to call her at 4:30, because it would interrupt Jeopardy. She was a devoted St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan and loved watching basketball. Eleanor also spent time playing card games like 500 and May I? with a dear group of friends in Albert Lea on a regular basis.
She will be missed by her children: Diane (David) Nall, Corwith; Jim (Deb) Rygh, Lake Mills; and Kathleen (Steven) Nelson, Lake Mills; a daughter-in-law, Amy (Roger) Olson, Lake Mills; 10 grandchildren: Wade Nall, Kayla (Jeremy) Walker, Mark (Kristen) Nall, Michael Rygh, David Rygh, Tony (Ashley) Nelson, Derek (Amanda) Nelson, Molly (Luke) Andrusyk, Katie Olson, and Jack Olson; 10 great-grandchildren: Natalie, Levi and Blake Walker; Matthew and Marion Nall; Brynn, Brooklyn and Becca Nelson; and Tate and Nora Nelson; brother, Richard O. Reisem, Rochester, N.Y.; brother-in-law, Keith Schaa, Homosassa, Fla.; and many extended relatives and beloved friends.
Eleanor was preceded in death by her parents; husband, James, in 1980; son, John, in 1993; two sisters: Sharon Schaa and Phyllis Ness; and brother-in-law, Allen Ness.