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Francis Riha, 89

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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 the Rev. Nick Radloff celebrating the Mass.

Interment will be held at St. Marys Catholic Cemetery, Waucoma.

Friends greeted the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Waucoma, where there will be a 7 p.m. Parish Scripture Service. Visitation continues an hour before the Mass at the church on Tuesday.

Online condolences for the Riha family may be left at

Francis was born Feb. 14, 1934, to Frank and Mary (Franzen) Riha on the St. Lucas 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, Minnesota, and JoEllen (Jim) Bridgewater of Blairstown; four grandchildren, Matt (Brooke) Keck of Davenport, Brian Keck of Davenport, Nicole (Tim) DeWeese of Prior Lake, Minnesota, and Nathan Bassing of Minnetrista, Minnesota; 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, and Wayne (Diane) Wurzer of Solon; and 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 and Daniel Riha; sisters, Loretta Rausch and Angela Brannon; brothers-in-law, Alex Rausch, William Brannon, Tom Hoey and Pat Hoey; and 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 six years. Memorials may be made to Mayo Clinic Outreach Dialysis Center in Decorah.

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