Sara A. Ristau

Sara A. Ristau, 64, of Klemme, formerly of Garner, passed away Sunday, July 25, 2021 at her home of congestive heart failure.

A memorial service will be held 10:00 a.m., Friday, July 30, 2021 at Cataldo Funeral Chapel, 160- E. 4th St., Garner with Rev. Fr. Jerry Kopacek officiating.  Inurnment will be at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Duncan.

A memorial visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, July 29th at Cataldo Funeral Chapel in Garner.

To protect and care for those with serious health conditions, the family respectfully requests guests wear masks at the visitation and memorial service.

Memorials may be directed to the Garner Public Library or to Ronald McDonald House, 730 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA  52246.

Sara Ann Ristau, the daughter of Dennis and Rose (Schaefer) Trca, was born September 19, 1956 at Britt, Iowa.  She grew up on the family farm in Erin Township and attended Britt Community Schools through the 11th grade.  Her family eventually moved to town, and she graduated from Garner-Hayfield High School in 1974.  Soon after, Sara married Gary Frein and their daughters, Sheila, Amy and Kristina were born.  Later, she married Don Ristau and they had three sons, Ryan, Reed and Rick.  Once her kids all began school, Sara started college, spending hours in the early mornings before anyone else awakened, studying and doing her homework.  She graduated with a nursing degree from NIACC in 1995 and worked as an RN for several years across North Iowa.  Sara loved the Hawkeyes and followed Iowa football very closely, watching live and replayed games whenever they were broadcast.  “The Wave” – the special moment between patients and families at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the Hawkeye players, coaches and fans across the street at Kinnick Stadium – was incredibly meaningful for her.  She texted her oldest daughter, Sheila, each game to ask whether she was waving from inside the stadium and to remind her that Sara was watching from home.

Sara developed many special, important friendships with fellow Al-Anon attendees and they supported her through many difficult times in her and her family’s lives.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Sara adopted a cat, Jasper Joe.  Jasper provided her great comfort and companionship, especially as her health and mobility declined.  It brought Sara great pride that all of her kids established their own meaningful lives in communities throughout Iowa.  Since she became “Grandma Sara” in 2005, she enjoyed hearing about her grandkids’ development, antics and activities.

Fortuitously, days before her passing, all of Sara’s kids and grandkids gathered with her at the lake – the first time they had all been together since before the pandemic.  Her family is comforted to think that last gathering provided her contentment, closure and peace.

Sara is survived by her five children, Sheila (Brad) Baldwin of Iowa City, Amy (Adam) Butterfield of Nevada, IA, Kristina (Christopher) Nolte of Goodell, Ryan Ristau of Garner and Rick (Darcy) Ristau of Garner; six grandchildren, Michael Butterfield, Sasha and Kira Baldwin, Hunter and Paisley Nolte and Huxley Ristau; her brothers, Steven Trca of Ames and Stan Trca of Garner; her sister, Sandra Trca of Fort Collins, CO and son, Caden Black;  her cat, Jasper Joe; and other extended family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and an infant son, Reed in 1986.



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