Rita Beth Olson

Rita Beth Olson

July 19, 1943 - March 01, 2024

Rita Beth Olson

July 19, 1943 - March 01, 2024


Rita Beth Olson

July 19, 1943 – March 1, 2024

San Clemente, CA


On Friday, March 1, 2024, Rita Beth Olson entered her Heavenly Home the way she lived her life; with courage, dignity & grace.  She passed away peacefully with Richard, her loving husband of fifty-one years, holding her hand.

Rita was an incredibly strong woman with tremendous faith, trust & belief in her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.  For the past twenty years she endured the challenges of Meniere’s Disease, cancer, a broken humerus bone, two broken hip fractures and a failed hip replacement surgery that left her unable to ambulate.  The last four years of her life were spent in care facilities in Marion, IA & San Clemente, CA suffering the debilitating and progressive effects of Lewy Body Dementia.  She became bedridden, lost the ability to perform all tasks of daily living & entered Hospice Care in December.

It was often said Rita & Richard were “joined at the hip” throughout their marriage.  They enjoyed everything together from world travel to sipping on Sunday Starbucks while strolling through Barnes and Noble, TJ Maxx or Von Maur.  The highlight of their world travels was celebrating Rita’s 60th birthday at a Beijing restaurant hosted by their friends Helen & Wei where she was presented with sixty long stemmed red roses & entertained by members of China’s National Dance Team.  They virtually did everything together up to the very moment she entered her Heavenly Home.

Although we can no longer touch, hug or kiss her, Rita leaves her family & friends with cherished lifetime memories.  She will forever be remembered for her sharp mind, quick wit & dry sense of humor that would brighten your day.

Rita would want us to remember her with a smile rather than tears.  She would want us to find comfort in knowing she is finally at peace & free from all pain & suffering.  She is now at Home with her Heavenly Father & reunited with her Mom, Dad, special cousin Betty & her lifelong friends Mary Lou & Mary Kay.  We like to think she was also enthusiastically greeted by her long- haired Dachshund, Lexi, with the ever-present ball in her mouth wanting to resume playing throw & retrieve.

Left behind to cherish many fond memories are her loving & devoted husband Richard of San Clemente, CA, her beloved sons Ryan (Carolyn) of Midlothian, TX & Rhett (Ashley) of Laguna Beach, CA, her brother Clifford (Cinthia) of Jupiter, FL, with whom she enjoyed a very special life-long bond & her grandchildren Ronin, Caiden, Scarlett & Mila, all of whom she loved with all her being.

Rita was born in Chicago, IL on July 19, 1943, the daughter of Robert C. Magnuson & Laura Belle Bush.  She graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Education & from DePaul University with a Masters of Education.  She was a teacher for over thirty years in Illinois & Iowa before retiring from Madison Elementary School in 2005.

Rita very much enjoyed being a resource teacher for special students challenged with reading & learning disabilities.  She was honored when one of her former elementary school students returned after graduating from college to thank her for inspiring her to become a special education teacher.  This event made all the IEPs & other teaching challenges she faced worth every minute of her teaching career.

Rita inspired her family & many others with her devotion to Christ.  She was a long-time member, lector & eucharistic minister at St. Pius X Church, served on the St. Pius School Board & was Chairperson of the Cedar Rapids Christian Women’s Club.  She was also a long-time member of Elmcrest Country Club & participated in book clubs for many years.

As a result of Rita’s teaching career passion for increasing the literacy level of elementary school children & her life-long interest in reading she & Richard were Hiawatha Public Library Dolly Parton Imagination Library Founder’s Club members providing funds for 0-5 year-old Hiawatha Little Learners the opportunity to receive a free book every month for five years.  They also sponsored a family conference room at the Hiawatha Public Library where parents & their children can read & learn together.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations be made to the Hiawatha Public Library’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program.  If you would like to donate, please make checks payable to Friends of the Hiawatha Public Library & mail your check to:

Hiawatha Public Library

Rita Beth Olson Memorial

150 West Willman

Hiawatha, IA 52233.


Cards may be mailed to:

Richard Olson

Everleigh San Clemente

515 Avenida Vaquero Unit 258

San Clemente, CA 92672



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