Rita Usselman

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

Rita Mae Usselman, 79, Alden, Minnesota . Wife, Mom, Gramma, Leader, and consummate Good Gal. Rita Mae (Reindal) Usselman died holding her husband Bob’s hand Wednesday afternoon, March, 13. She was 79. An Alden, Minnesota native, Rita was born April 2, 1944 in nearby Albert Lea to Ralph and Verneta (Sauer) Reindal. She grew up chasing butterflies and doing daily chores on the Reindal Family Dairy Farm, which is still in the family. As her late father, Ralph, said, “She grew up with a mind of her own,” which she harnessed to develop into a leader and high-performer in her school days and eventually in her career as an elementary school teacher in New Hampshire and Connecticut, and a school superintendent in her hometown district, Alden-Conger, Minnesota. She attended Luther College and Minnesota State – Mankato as an undergraduate and The University of Connecticut for her Master’s and Educational degrees. Balancing gracefulness with toughness, Rita spent her last 51 years with her husband – retired US Navy Master Chief, two-time Chief of Boat (C.O.B.) and Educator, Robert (Bob) G. Usselman. The couple celebrated their marriage July 8, 1972 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Gales Ferry, Connecticut before moving to Hawaii to start their family and life together. During Bob’s Navy assignments in Hawaii and California, Rita put her teaching career on hold to be at home with her young children. Bob often said, “As a Navy wife, you (Rita) made it possible for me to do my job. And I always knew my family would be taken care of.” The wife of a senior enlisted sailor, Rita also served as the steady-handed mentor to the spouses of the junior enlisted sailors – many of whom were not yet accustomed to the rigors of being alone with children for three months at a time while the submarines were out to sea. Without exaggeration, Rita kept the spouses of the sub crew together during these lonely, challenging period at home. In addition to her husband, Rita is survived by her daughter Jenny (Dave), and son Bob (Leah). She was preceded in death by her parents, brother-in-law Dennis Friedel and niece Joy Reindal. The oldest of four children, Rita is also survived by her siblings – sister Georgia Friedel, brother Chuck Reindal (Julie), and brother Dan Reindal (Sue); eleven grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, and a host of great friends. A warm soul, faithful follower of Jesus, and wellspring of life lessons, Rita will remain in the legacy of her many loved ones and thousands of students, whom she guided and served throughout her life. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you either donate (Alden Area Community Foundation, Grace of God Church, American Kidney Fund) or just continue to “be nice like Gramma” by unconditionally loving and supporting as many people as you can. There was a livestream of the service. Please put the following link into your web browser to access the recorded version of the service. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php/?id=100064730194543

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Rita Mae Usselman

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