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John Ries, 82

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John Ries, age 82 of Elma, died Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at Mitchell County Regional Health Center in Osage.

A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 22, 2024, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Elma with the Rev. Raymond Burkle celebrating the Mass.

Inurnment will be held in Calvary Cemetery, Elma with Jim Wilson, Dick Meirick, Lyle Ries and Lew Schrandt serving as urnbearers. Honorary urnbearers are Kayla Wilson, Melinda Wilson, Dillon Wilson, Alyvia Ries, Hayden Ries, Connley Ries and Brynleigh Ries.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, 2024, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Elma. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Memorial Mass at the church.

John Ries, of Elma, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2024, at the age of 82. He was born on March 2, 1942, in New Hampton, the son of Ralph and Mary (Schwickerath) Ries. He was raised with the values of hard work and dedication that would define his entire life.

After graduating from Immaculate Conception Academy in Elma in 1960, John immediately embarked on what would become a lifelong passion for farming with Lee and Veronica Riley and his parents. His love for the land and dedication to his craft made him a respected figure in the agricultural community.

John’s commitment to fostering growth extended beyond the barns and fields, as he took on the role of a 4-H leader of the Elma Niners, shaping the lives of young individuals with the same patience and care he gave to his crops and livestock. His influence and leadership were further recognized through his service as a board member of the Howard County Equity Co-Operative, where he worked tirelessly to ensure the prosperity of local farmers.

John met his wife Catherine at a dance in Janesville and the two were married on Sept. 24, 1966, at Immaculate Conception Church in Sumner. To this union, four children were born — Janae, Mark, Debra and Kent.

John found great happiness in farming and in the simplicity of fishing with his children and grandchildren, instilling in them not only the skills of the sport but also the virtues of patience and presence.

With his beloved wife, Catherine, John embarked on numerous adventures, traveling to Branson, and various polka events and creating memories that would be cherished by both of them forever.

To know John was to know a man of many admirable qualities. His hands, ever skilled and always busy, found their artistry in welding, a hobby that was both practical and fulfilling for this handyman. Above all, John was handy, a trait that served him well both in his professional life and in the countless ways he contributed to the lives of those around him.

As we bid farewell to John, we reflect on a life well-lived, a journey marked by passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to family and farming. He will be remembered not just for what he did, but for who he was—a beacon of light and love in the lives of many. John’s story does not end here; it lives on in the hearts of those he touched, a testament to a life truly well-lived.

John’s family takes solace in knowing that he is now at peace, and they are grateful for the time they had with him. He is survived by a loving family, a multitude of friends and a community that will continue to honor his memory.

John is survived by his wife, Catherine Ries of Elma; two sons, Mark (Joanne) Ries of Elma, and Kent (Natalie) Ries of Elma; one daughter, Janae (Pete Andera) Wilson of Kensett; seven grandchildren, Kayla Wilson, Melinda Wilson, Dillon Wilson, Alyvia Ries, Hayden Ries, Connley Ries and Brynleigh Ries; three brothers, Ed Ries of Spring Valley, Minnesota, Mike (Janice) Ries of Cresco, and Gary (Mary Jo) Ries of Elma; two sisters, Elaine (Chuck) Laures of Osage, and Marilyn (Gary) Schaudenecker of Alta Vista: and one brother-in-law, the Rev. Terry Ball of Iowa City.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Mary Ries; in-laws, Robert and Carolyn Ball; daughter, Debra Ries in 2023; and sisters-in-law, Mona Ball and Jean Ries.

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