Margaret "Peggy" E. (Starke) Rasmussen

Margaret “Peggy” Rasmussen, 83, of Britt passed away Saturday, July 19, 2008 at the Good Samaritan Center in Forest City.

Funeral services for Peggy Rasmussen will be held on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 10:30 AM at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Wesley with Pastor Denise Group officiating. Interment will take place at Evergreen Cemetery in Britt.

Visitation for Peggy Rasmussen will be held on Monday, July 21, 2008 from 5:00 until 7:00 PM at the Ewing Funeral Chapel, 178 Center Street West, in Britt and will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday.

Margaret Elizabeth, the daughter of William J. and Gertrude E. Wright Starke, was born July 24, 1924 in Saywell, Massachusetts. Margaret “Peggy” Rasmussen grew up during the depression in the Cleveland, Ohio area. After losing her father at the age of 12 she helped the family financial situation by working in homes as a nanny and housekeeper while she finished her high school days. She met Merle Rasmussen, son of Fred and Dora Rasmussen from Wesley, Iowa, who was serving on an aircraft carrier in the Navy between California and the Hawaiian Islands.

They were wed June 6, 1947 in Alameda, California. When Merle was released from his duties he brought his new bride home to the Midwest and the family farm. Although Peggy had never been to the Midwest or to a farm we all enjoy the story of her first visit to the barn. She turned to Merle and asked him what that sweet smell was and he informed her that it was cow manure. A city girl that thought cow manure smelled sweet. Well, she took to farm life very well and along with the livestock and farming demands Peggy and Merle had four children, Fredric (deceased), Linda, JoAnn and Donna.

Merle and Peggy moved with Fred and Linda to a farm in Winnebago, Minnesota. They farmed there from 1950 through 1958 in which time JoAnn and Donna joined the family. Peggy and her family moved back to a farm between Wesley and Britt until the early 1980’s.

Peggy was very active in the Wesley Methodist Church. She was a member of the United Methodist Women and played the organ for Sunday services. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary in Wesley. Peggy also started a birthday club that allowed for the ladies in the community to get together once a month for each of their birthdays.

She worked hard on the farm and had a large garden and saw all 4 of her children through school activities in Britt, church activities in Wesley, stating that she felt like a taxi driver during those years. When the children got older and started leaving the home she worked at the Hillside Golf Course as a cook. She also worked at the Bear Rug in Britt.

She visited the elderly neighbors and greatly loved and aided her mother-in-law Dora Rasmussen as she aged and needed help. In the early 1980’s Peggy and Merle moved to Britt. During this time Merle and Peggy parted ways and she worked for the Britt Country Club as a cook and the Britt Hospital in the dietary department for several years. When Peggy’s son Fred came home from the navy with cancer she lived and cared for him until his passing in 1995. After the loss of her son Fred, she found great happiness when she renewed her friendship with a Minnesota neighbor that she had known back in the 1950’s. Deane Ritter of Winnebago, Minnesota and Peggy introduced their partnership with a joyous engagement party and were inseparable for the next 12 years. Deane and Peggy were fun to be around because they were so very good for each other and the love and concern they felt for each other warmed your hearts. She loved the farm and the sheep, cattle and horses.

She spent her winters in Texas with Deane and they visited their children’s farms often. Sharing the livestock, horses and farm life. Peg enjoyed joining her daughter at horse shows in Des Moines and Arizona. She loved to go to gatherings of family and friends and would plan little tea parties and lunches for her friends and family.

Peggy is survived by her three children: Linda Rasmussen Nieman husband Marvin Nieman of Forest City, JoAnn Rasmussen Eastvold of LeRoy, Minnesota and Donna Rasmussen Gietl of Denver, Colorado; nine grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; sister Wilma Wells of Harwich, Massachusetts; brother Bill Shinkwin of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and significant other Deane Ritter.

Peggy was preceded in death by her parents William and Gertrude Starke; sister Jenette Smith and son Fredric Rasmussen.


Date: Monday, July 21, 2008
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Where: Ewing Funeral Chapel – Britt
178 Center Street West, Britt, Iowa 50423
Get Directions


Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Time: 10:30 am
Where: Wesley United Methodist Church
302 Read Street, Wesley, Iowa 50483
Get Directions

Send Condolences

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.