Mary Rita Zehentner

  • Born: August 14, 1921
  • Died: November 27, 2017
  • Location: Dubuque, Iowa

Behr's Funeral Home

1491 Main Street
(563) 582-3297
Dubuque, IA 52001
Tel. (563) 582-3297

Tribute & Message From The Family

Mary Rita Zehentner, age 96, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 11:57 p.m., on Monday, November 27, 2017, at Bethany Home, surrounded by her loving family. To honor Mary Rita's life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Friday, December 1, 2017, at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 2001 Saint Joseph Street, with Rev. Gabriel C. Anderson and Rev. Dennis D. Juhl officiating. To celebrate Mary Rita's life, family and friends may visit from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, where a parish scripture wake service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Mary Rita was born on August 14, 1921, in Dubuque, Iowa, daughter of Peter and Mary (Hillard) Herber.

Mary Rita was a proud lifelong resident of Dubuque who received her primary education from Sacred Heart Grade School, and went on to graduate from Immaculate Conception. She met the love of her life, Robert Zehentner, and the cute couple was united in marriage on November 3, 1943, at Sacred Heart Church in Dubuque. They were blessed with over 60 years together, and 7 wonderful children, before Bob was sadly called home ahead of her on September 10, 2004. Mary Rita was a naturally meticulous and diligent worker who not only took great pride in raising her children and caring for her home, but was also the manager and buyer for Zehentner's Ski Shop for many years. As the manager of the family's Sporting Good and Ski Shop, Mary Rita had the distinguished honor of giving dozens of local kids their first "real" job while patiently teaching them many of the responsibilities and life-skills they could continue to employ throughout their careers and personal lives. She was also a very active participant in her children's education and was a faithful member of the Catholic Mother's Club. Mary Rita strived to find joy in everything she did; from making magnificent family meals with always an abundance of left-overs to share, to spending the afternoon on the slopes or the evening on the bowling lanes, to regularly chasing the little white ball around the golf course, and even relishing any opportunity for her and Bob to dominate a family friendly game of Euchre. But, at the end of it all, family was always the number one priority in Mary Rita's life; and her love for family gatherings, especially at Christmas time, were an undeniable pleasure which she always welcomed with open arms. We will definitely miss our dear sweet mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend; but we discover some comfort in the fact that she will once again be celebrating Christmas with her beloved husband this year, and that thankfully Mom's attempt at heavenly haircuts will be perfect every time she tries moving forward. Thank you for your 96 years of love, wisdom and positive role-modeling Mary Rita and may the Lord keep you and Dad safe in His loving arms until we all meet again.

Those left to cherish Mary Rita's memory include

her children,
Mary Louise (Richard) Lorenz, Dousman, WI,
Jayne Zehentner, Dubuque, IA,
Judy (Bob Griffin) Zehentner, Palisades, NY,
Teri Zehentner, Palisades, NY,
Bob (Andrea) Zehentner, Friendswood, TX,
Barb (Mike) McKinlay, Dubuque, IA
and Steve (Marina Ruiz-Molina) Zehentner, New York, NY;

14 grandchildren,
Gina (Yoann Taboyan) Lorenz, Lisa (Matt Helbing) Lorenz, Bob (Alison Andolena) Griffin, Dan Griffin, Tom Griffin, Gabriel Clandorf, Donato Clandorf, Livia Clandorf, Zoe Clandorf, Andrew Zehentner, Claire Zehentner, Sophie Zehentner, Jen (John Peterson) Becker and Jessie (Adam May) Becker;

6 great-grandchildren,
Henry and Theodore Helbing, Liam Taboyan, Layla, Ellee and Gracie Peterson;

and her wonderful sister and best friend,
Dolores Apel, Dubuque, IA.

Mary Rita was preceded in death by her parents; her loving husband, Robert Zehentner; her son-in-law, Michael J. Becker; 9 of her siblings and their spouses, Peter (Dorothy) Herber, Art (Treas) Herber, Viola (Raymond) Nicks, Fred (Ann) Herber, Arnold (Eunice) Herber, Mildred (Fergus) Gallagher, Herb (Ruth) Herber, and 2 sisters in infancy, Evelyn and Eleanor; and 1 brother-in-law, Jack Apel.

A Mary Rita Zehentner memorial fund has been established, which will be distributed among her favorite charities.

Mary Rita's family would like to thank the nurses and staff at Bethany Home, and Hospice of Dubuque, for the outstanding compassionate care they have provided to Mary Rita, and her family.


Condolence & Memory Journal

There could not be a better mother, a better friend, a better human. Mom, I miss you so much. I love you forever...

Posted by judy zehentner - Palisades, NY - Daughter   December 02, 2017

Dearest Mary Rita

I hope Ave Maria was as good for you as it was for us.

best wishes

Posted by Donato Clandorf - Grandchild   December 02, 2017

Mom I miss you and I love you

Posted by BARB ZEHENTNER MCKINLAY - DUBUQUE, IA - Daughter   December 02, 2017

To all of the Zehentner Family:
Our sincere sympathy to all of you. Mary Rita was an amazing woman who touched so many lives! As you stated in the obit, Mike's first job was working at Zehentner's Ski Shop, and he learned a lot from Mary Rita. We have also both been friends of Barb, Steve and Bob, having gone to St. Joe's and Wahlert with them. Now in Mary Rita's last year, our daughter Jenny has enjoyed helping Mary Rita at Bethany Home. She also sends her condolences. We will be thinking of you this weekend.

Posted by Mike & Molly Dalton - Dubuque, IA - Friend   December 01, 2017

Mary Rita was that most remarkable of people - completely untouched by the cynicism of the society and world we live in. She was spritely and never lost her youthful sparkle. She was deeply and dearly loved by all who knew her and never lost her sweet, gentle , optimistic nature. I was lucky to know her and honored to know her.

Posted by Penny Arcade - NY, NY - Family Friend   November 29, 2017

Grandma was the foundation on which this Zehentner family was built, and I know she is missed already. She lived an amazing life and I hope she's with her beloved husband, Robert, now. We'll always miss her, but she'll always be with us, as long as we remember the things she taught us. She was a gentle soul who's now at rest, and lord knows she earned it. Requiescat in pace, nonna. Io ti amo

Posted by Zoe Clandorf - Albany, NY - Grandchild   November 29, 2017

I have many memories of Mrs. Zehentner putting up with the entire neighborhood hanging out on their front porch or in the backyard playing baseball. She always had a smile on her face and made me feel at home. My mother and Mrs. Zehentner would go to plays and out to lunch in their later years. Heaven gained an angel yesterday.

Posted by Liz Berry Wells - Dubuque, IA - Neighbor   November 28, 2017


Miss you already Mom.

Posted by TERI ZEHENTNER - Palisades, NY - Daughter   November 28, 2017

I will miss Mary Rita so very much. She was such a sweet and caring lady. I'm so Thankful for being able to care for her and be a part of her life. RIP my sweet lady. Love Rose

Posted by Rose Woodard - Peosta, IA - Acquaintance   November 28, 2017