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Rita Joyce (Birney) Jessup
November 23, 1929 ~ August 4, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Rita Jessup, age 93, of Glenwood, MN formerly of Starbuck, died Friday, August 4, 2023, at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 13th at Glenwood United Parish in Glenwood, with Pastor Yolanda Williams officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood.
Rita Joyce Birney, oldest daughter of Harold and Izeta (Blackburn) Birney was born during a severe snowstorm on November 23, 1929, in Jefferson, Iowa. Her grandfather, Walter Blackburn, kept the house nice and warm for her by shoveling coal to welcome her into this world. Rita’s family moved frequently during her childhood as her father advanced in his career. Consequently, she attended school in various cities in Iowa before graduating from Central High School, Omaha, NE in 1947. Rita was working in her father's music and jukebox store when she met Charles “Chuck” Wayne Jessup. The two wed on June 24, 1949, at the Congregational Church in Sioux City, IA. Following their marriage, they made their home in Sioux City and were blessed with two sons, Randal in 1954 and David in 1958. The family’s main activities revolved around church and school, and they were blessed to have a close-knit group of friends with shared interests. Once her boys were older, Rita became head registrar at Western Iowa Tech and Community College. She greatly enjoyed this position and spent 10+ years in the role. In the 1980s, Rita and Chuck moved to Des Moines, IA to manage a True Value Hardware Store. They worked side by side for many years.
Rita and Chuck's love of travel took them across the country, sometimes even camping in their van. One of their special travel memories was a cruise to Alaska that included whale watching. In 1990, following their retirement, Rita and Chuck moved to Starbuck, MN, to be near their family and to be able to spend more time with their grandchildren and attend their activities. They joined Glenwood United Parish, where they were active, faithful members. Rita especially enjoyed the ladies quilting group where she met many good friends. She worked hard on countless large quilting projects, the most meaningful ones being a family history quilt and personalized graduation quilts for each of her grandchildren. Her love of quilting and sewing spanned her whole life and included table runners, needle work, and hundreds of pieces of doll clothes. Any free time she had left was spent tending to her beautiful gardens, rock collecting, baking anything chocolate, and reading over 100 books each year. Another of her hobbies that she enjoyed well into her final years was bird watching.
Rita and Chuck shared 61 years of marriage before his death on March 13, 2011. Afterwards, Rita continued to reside in Starbuck for a short while before deciding to move to Ridgewood Villa in Glenwood. As her needs changed, she moved to Hoffman Senior Living in Hoffman, MN, and then, earlier this year, to Glenwood Retirement Village in Glenwood.
Rita was a loving and devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She will be greatly missed. As she would say, “Don't grieve for me, I've gone to watch and feed my birds.”
Rita is survived by her son, Randy Jessup, and his wife, Janet, of Brooten, MN; four grandchildren, Melissa Jessup, Anna (Clayton Harper) Jessup, Emily (Nolan) Miller, and Charlie (Karla) Jessup; seven great-grandchildren, Aunika, Paige, Izeta, Viktor, Dominic, Raven and Edric; one sister, Rosalind La Fata of Waterford, CT; along with nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Izeta; her husband, Charles; one son, David in 2006; one sister, Rhona Boulay; one brother, Robert Birney; and one nephew, Roy Boulay.