Francis Riha

Thursday, November 30, 2023 2:12 am

Francis Riha, age 89, of Waucoma, died Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Waucoma, with Rev. Nick Radloff celebrating the Mass. Interment will be held at St. Marys Catholic Cemetery, Waucoma. Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Waucoma, where there will be a 7 p.m. parish scripture service. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass at the church on Tuesday.

Francis was born Feb. 14, 1934, to Frank and Mary (Franzen) Riha on the St. Lucas (Iowa) farm and moved to the Waucoma homestead in 1939. He was the eighth of nine siblings and shared a birthday with his older brother, Edward, who was born 12 years earlier. Francis attended Catholic grade school at St. Mary’s in Waucoma and later graduated from Waucoma Public High School in 1952.

Francis was drafted into the Army in 1956. He completed boot camp at Fort Carson in Colorado and attended Quarter Master training in Washington DC. Francis was stationed in South Carolina. Upon his discharge in 1958, he returned to the family farm and resumed farming. He met Regina (Jeannie) Hoey while attending church. Francis had to ask her out after mass as Grandpa Hoey did not believe in telephones at that time. They were wed on July 16, 1960. They have four children: Bernadine, Cathleen, David, and JoEllen.

Farming was Francis’s passion over the last 63 years. From raising hogs, planting crops, and driving tractors, Frank kept busy. Even in retirement, he checked grain futures, mowed the lawn, and fed a bevy of yellow finches, woodpeckers, and Blue jays. As a farmer, he would always tell you “We could use some rain”. Neighbors would always find Frank on (Mom’s) Kubota surveying the crops. Francis had a quiet demeanor, but could come up with a corny remark when least expected. He always had a twinkle in his eye and when not farming, was spoiling his grandchildren. Francis was a member of St Mary’s church of Waucoma where he taught religion class, and served as Eucharist minister and lector.

Francis is survived by his wife Jeannie; son David Riha of Fort Atkinson; daughters, Bernadine (Kevin) Keck of Davenport, Cathleen (Mark) Bassing of Minnetrista, Minn., and JoEllen (Jim) Bridgewater of Blairstown; four grandchildren: Matt (Brooke) Keck Davenport, Brian Keck Davenport, Nicole (Tim) DeWeese Prior Lake, Minn., Nathan Bassing Minnetrista, Minn.; one great-grandson on the way; sister, Barbara (James) Jirak of Fort Atkinson; brothers-in-law, Bill Hoey of Lawler, Jim (Elaine) Hoey of Waucoma, Wayne (Diane) Wurzer of Solon; sisters-in-law Shirley Riha of Waucoma, Jane (Ron) Eckenrod of New Hampton, Mary Hoey of New Hampton, and Mary Hoey of West Union.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary Riha; his father and mother-in-law, Leonard and Edna Hoey; brothers, James Croatt, Edward Riha, Matthias Riha, Leonard Riha, Daniel Riha; sisters Loretta Rausch, Angela Brannon; brothers- in-law, Alex Rausch, William Brannon, Tom Hoey, Pat Hoey; sisters-in-law; Verena Croatt, Anges Riha, Mary Riha, Millie Riha, Kathy Hoey, and Sally Wurzer.

The Riha family would like to thank the dialysis staff for the care and compassion they provided to Frank for the last 6 years. Memorials may be made to Mayo Clinic Outreach Dialysis Center – Decorah, IA

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