Rita Smith Landgraf

November 28, 1938 — June 18, 2024


Rita Smith Landgraf, 85, of Dubuque, died on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at her home.

There will be no formal services. A family gathering will be held at a later date.

Rita was born November 28, 1938, on a dairy and truck farm in Sparta, WI, the oldest of five children, to Harold and Thelma (Winterfield) Smith.

Rita graduated from Sparta High School. After high school she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and was nurse’s aide at Madison General Hospital. It was at this time that she met her future husband, Hubert John Landgraf, who was in the U.S. Air Force at the time. They were married on November 23, 1958 in Dubuque. While living in Spain in 1961, Hubert was killed in a car accident. Rita and their two daughters, Kelly and JoAnn moved back to the United States for a short time but then returned to Spain where they lived for 11 years. While in Spain, Rita started her university studied at the air force base through the U. of Maryland. During this time Rita and the girls were able to visit most of Europe which they all have fond memories of.

By 1973, they returned to the USA and moved back to Rita’s home farm in Sparta. She then enrolled in classes at UW-LaCrosse, while here she changed her major five times. She began in Spanish, then Art History, then Geography, Archeology, and then finally ended up in Home Economics, specializing in Food and Nutrition. With her studies she was able to travel all over the world, such as, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Western Samoa, and Iceland. She received her BS in combined majors of Geography/Sociology/Anthropology. After the girls graduated high school, she moved to Arkansas and obtained her MS Home Economics Degree in Foods and Nutrition and became a Certified Dietary Manager.

In Rita’s free time, she enjoyed bowling, painting, and doing ceramics. She also was a great baker. Rita had a deep love for all living things, especially, cats, dogs, birds, and plants.

Survivors include her two daughters, Kelly Robertson of Dubuque; and JoAnn (David) Nelson of Chatham, IL; her grandchildren, Jon and his son Jackson, Alisha (Daanan) Grasso and their twin boys, Miles and Charlie, Ben Nelson, Triston Nelson, and Samantha (Leonard) Schulz; three siblings, Doris (Phil) Parsneau, Richard (Violet) Smith, and Mary Meberg; and sister-in-law, Sally Smith.

Besides her parents and husband, Rita was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Smith; and brother-in-law, Mark Meberg.


Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home and Crematory