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Denise Frances Ritschel

January 2, 1919 November 24, 2010
Denise Frances Ritschel
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Obituary for Denise Frances Ritschel

PEORIA-Denise Frances Ritschel, 91, of Peoria, died on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at Lutheran Hillside Village. Denise was born on January 2, 1919, in Clare, Iowa to Daniel and Geneva Coleman. She was the third child in a family of eight children steeped in farming, politics, and music. Denise graduated with honors from St. Matthew’s High School, being recognized for debate and writing. She had hoped to attend college to study journalism, but was sent instead to business school in Des Moines, Iowa. Denise belonged to a business sorority which sponsored social events with other schools. At a dance, she met Jerome Leroy Ritschel. They were married on May 15, 1939, settled in Peoria and raised three children, Michael Coleman, Thomas Albert, and Patricia Mary. Denise’s avocation was music. She sang with several Big Bands, including the Tommy Dorsey Band when she was in Iowa. Denise turned her love of music into a passion of bringing the arts to Peoria. Devoted and committed to the City of Peoria, Denise served proudly in many civic organizations including Peoria Amateur Musical Club, the Symphony Guild, and was a co-founder of the Peoria Civic Opera. She was active in the Historical Society and Lakeview. Denise served on the National Board of PBS. In the 1960’s she traveled often to New York to help in the launching of Sesame Street on the Public Television Network. In her later years, Denise worked on developing her skills in the writing of poems and children’s stories. She was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerome in 1993, sisters, Dolores Hogan Rowe, Dorothy Ryan, Patty Coleman, and brother, Joe Coleman. She is survived by her sons, Michael (Marcia) and Thomas (Debbie); and daughter, Patricia (Richard Trifilo); grandchildren, Patrick Ritschel (Tammie), Brian Ritschel, Daniel Ritschel (Tamiko), Timothy Ritschel, Meg Ritschel Harkins (Frank), Gregory Trifilo (Megan), and Colleen Trifilo Mruzik (Jim); great-grandchildren, Andrew (Jennifer), Josh, Angelina, Samantha, Katie, Michael, Jonathan, Fiona and Quinn; sisters, Marcia Castricone and Karen Tuohy; and brother, Daniel Coleman, II. A Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 3, 2010 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church with Msgr. Jason Gray officiating, followed by the rite of Christian Burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Peoria. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the Mass at the church. Wright & Salmon Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Donations in Denise’s name can be made to WTVP Public Television, Lakeview, St. Vincent de Paul Church, the Parkinson Association, or the Lutheran Home. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to


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