*Please follow the link above to Rita's Tribute Wall to view a number of family pictures available.
Rita Pagnac, 97, of Stephen, MN, passed away on July 3, 2020, at North Star Manor in Warren, MN, after a lifetime spent caring for others.
Rita Marie Parent was born on January 5, 1923, to Adolph and Ida (Dufault) Parent. She grew up on a farm outside Argyle, MN, attending a one-room country school, and as the fourth of nine children, caring for her younger siblings. At 15, she started working and for the next 50 years, she never stopped—taking jobs as a nanny, waitress, cook, and many others.
In 1943, she married Earl “Johnny” Anderson, the brother of her good friend Audrey. They farmed outside of Stephen, and they loved to go dancing and had many late-night card parties. Rita’s only son, Gary, was born in 1944 in the middle of a three-day blizzard and was promptly popped into the oven to keep warm. Gary was the apple of his mother’s eye. He grew up on a diet of milkshakes and hamburgers, surrounded by a small menagerie, including Rita’s toy poodles. In 1974, tragedy struck when Johnny died suddenly of a heart attack, and Gary took over the farm.
Three years later, Rita married Forrest “Stub” Pagnac, a widower from Stephen whose children had gone to school with Gary. They moved to Warroad, MN, where Stub loved to fish. Rita worked at Marvin Windows, and the two had many visits from their combined grandchildren. Grandma Rita always had fresh cinnamon rolls or donuts ready for visitors. Sadly, Stub died of cancer in 1988.
When Rita retired, she moved back to Stephen. She spent her retirement traveling, often with her sisters-in-law; admiring her grandchildren’s many amazing (to grandma) accomplishments; shopping for decorative plates, figurines, and Beanie Babies to fill her home; and looking out the window to check on the neighborhood (and to make sure her nephew Kenny across the street got home at night).
Although Rita only had one child, she mothered many more. Her malts and donuts were legendary to generations of children. She nursed not only her husband, Stub, and her cousin, Lorraine Parent, through illness, but also many others. Neighborhood kids could be assured a knock at Rita’s door would always get them a treat.
Left to mourn her passing is her son and daughter-in-law, Gary W. and Susan Anderson; grandchildren, Kelly (Matt) Beulke, Joy (Nathan) Reopelle Anderson and Tami (Kris) Murphy; great-grandchildren, Cole, Leah, Natalie, Sylvie, Kieran and Nia. Survivors also include her Pagnac step-children, Ken (Lois) Pagnac, Mary Sue Eckhart, Pam Anderson (Sandy Aker) and Keith Pagnac, step-grandchildren, Dustin, Darrin, Kevin, Sally, Benji, Regina, Casey, Max, Chad and Kristen; fifteen step great-grandchildren; two step-great-great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews who were all special to her.
She was preceded in death by her brothers and sisters, Bernice, Rudolph, Paul, Ludger, Gerald, Eloise, Edith and Arlene and “constant companion” sister-in-law, Audrey Kalin.
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Due to restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to attend church, private family services will take place on Friday, July 10, 2020 at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Stephen, MN.
INTERMENT: St. Stephen Catholic Cemetery, Stephen, MN.
To watch a recording of Rita's Mass of Christian Burial, please click the link below:
To send flowers to Rita's family, please visit our floral store.