Rita Marie (Powers) Leahy passed away on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016, aged 81 after living a life full of love. Rita was known for her overwhelming kindness to her family, friends and all those she met. Rita was born in Mauston, WI, where she graduated from Madonna High School. After high school, Rita then attended and graduated from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI, an institution she was proud of her entire life. Rita then pursued a career in grade school education, moving to the Lyons, WI area, where she met John Francis Leahy. Rita and John would marry in 1957 and soon after start a family which would grow from her four daughters to include grandchildren, great-grandchildren, her beloved nieces and nephews, family dogs and cats, and friends from the entire world. John and Rita’s marriage would last until his passing in 1997.
Instead of pursuing her intended career in education, Rita joined John in the great adventure of owning Lake Geneva Country Meats. Under her guidance and wisdom, the business has grown and thrived for over 50 years. Through the business, Rita made treasured lifelong friendships throughout the state, nation, and world. Rita was proud to have served as the Treasurer of the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors for 21 years, and was inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Hall of Fame, along with John, in 2003. In addition to her business, Rita was passionate about St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lake Geneva, where she taught Religious Education, served as a member of Catholic Daughters of America, and volunteered many other ways. She additionally served on the Lake Geneva Public Library Board, supported many charitable causes and loved to take road trips. In Rita, we lost a remarkable woman who gave of herself generously and lived her life always thinking of how she could help others. Many will miss Rita, but we are all better for having known her.
Rita is survived by her four daughters, Michelle (Jim) Smith, Theresa (Gary Ketterhagen) Hewitt, Kathleen (Scott) Vorpagel, and Barbara (Mark) Hess. She is additionally survived by six grandchildren, Kendra (Peter) Gabriel, Caleb Hewitt, Nick (Sarah) Vorpagel, Abbey (Eric) Rosenquist, Kiera Hess and Chloe Hess and five great-grandchildren, August, Greta, Levi, Emilia and Eloise. Rita’s surviving sisters are, Monica Jerich, West Allis, WI, Mary Carol Powers, Rockford, IL, Louise Maxworthy, Merrick, NY, Ruth(Bill) Michels, Eau Claire, WI, Marcia (Scott) Kelly, Springfield, MO, and brothers, Mark (Jo) Powers, Chapel Hill, NC, Steve (Jane) Powers, Mauston, WI, and many nieces & nephews. Rita was preceded in death by her husband, John, parents, sisters Ann Rodgers and Jean Ahler, and brother Kieran Powers.