Mass of Christian Burial for Ordell Ritter of Chokio, MN will be held Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at 10:30 a.m.at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chokio, with Father John Paul Knopik serving as celebrant. Visitation will be Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chokio and for one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday. Burial will be in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Chokio.
Ordell Joseph Ritter was born on July 7, 1937, in Graceville, Minnesota to Charles and Florence (Grossman) Ritter. He was raised on a farm near Chokio, Minnesota. Ordell was raised in the Catholic faith and was a life-long member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he was baptized and confirmed his faith. He received his education at country school and then Chokio High School. He graduated from Chokio High School in 1955. Following his education, he farmed and was a popular bartender at the local bar. He met his future wife, Carol Osterberg - a new-to-town school teacher, and they were married on December 27, 1960, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chokio. They originally made their home on a farm near Chokio and began their family – welcoming six daughters – who he raised in a home with one bathroom! In 1970, Ordell purchased a truckline and moved his family from the farm to Chokio. He and Carol owned and operated Ritter Trucking for many years. In 1974, the shop part of the business burned to the ground with all the trucks and maintenance equipment inside. With the resilience and strength of those who came before them and the love, support, and sweat equity of their family and community, Ordell and Carol rebuilt the business and “The Shop.” He never forgot the generosity of others during some of his darkest days and spent the balance of his life finding ways to give back. Ordell really never retired, but hauled hogs and gravel, worked for the local fertilizer plant and pushed snow while he slowly eased into retirement. Carol preceded him in death in 2015; he continued to live independently at his home until January of 2022, when he went to Knute Nelson Care Center in Alexandria where he lived until his death.
Ordell was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Chokio Sportsmen Club – raising pheasants for the group, the Chokio Community Club and served as an usher at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Ordell looked forward to his annual fall deer hunting trips to the Koochiching State Forest, a trip that started with his father and lasted for more than 50 years. He loved his relationships, especially those he shared with his weekday coffee crew and all who joined him at 3:15pm for 6-5-4 dice games at The Shop on Beer Belly Boulevard. Ordell LOVED Chokio – he was involved and willing to do what he could to support his town. His people and his relationships were everything to him, he had friends of all ages. Ordell loved to have a good conversation and to tell stories. He was a bullshitter and could spin a story. You would maybe hear the truth 50% of the time, and if his grin came out, it was sure to be just a story! Ordell cherished his big family, he was proud of his daughters and was fond of spending time with all of them and their families.
Ordell died peacefully with family at his side on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at Knute Nelson Care Center in Alexandria, Minnesota; he was 84 years old.
Ordell is survived by his daughters: Sara (Jim) Heintzelman of Breckenridge, Rebecca (Mark) Blanshan of Moorhead, Jan (David) Dilley of Alexandria, Amy (Mark) Blackwelder of Chokio, Ruth (Danny) Primus of St. Cloud, and Maureen (Scott) Gonnerman of Chokio; grandchildren, Breanna (Jason) Grieve, Samantha (Domenick Packett) Heintzelman, Lauren Blanshan, Jason Blanshan, Mitchell (Katie) Hufford, Brett (Callie) Blackwelder, Katelyn (Kelly) Engquist, Kent Blackwelder, Charlie Primus, Jennifer Primus, Cecily Primus, Matthew Primus, Presley Gonnerman, Hunter Gonnerman, and Toby Gonnerman; great-grandchildren, Easton and Carson Hufford, Casara and Zehner Grieve, Lyla and Max Blackwelder, and Kennedy Engquist; sisters: Janet Frank of Spicer, and Marianne Thompson of Minneapolis; sisters-in-law: Sandi Ritter of Lakeville, Ruth Osterberg of Alexandria, Crystal Osterberg of Hector, Karen Osterberg of Watkins; aunts and several nieces and nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his wife, Carol; his parents Charles and Florence Ritter; two infant sisters; brother Francis Ritter; brothers-in-law: Steve Frank Sr., Russell Osterberg, Roger Osterberg, and Doug Osterberg; his mother-in-law and father-in-law: Gerhard and Selma (Kling) Osterberg; and Pat Reichmuth, who he loved as a son.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS THE FAMILY PREFERS MEMORIALS TO BE GIVEN IN ORDELLS NAME TO LOCAL CHARITIES.
Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of the arrangements.
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