Rita Dempsey

January 27, 1929October 10, 2020

Rita Siegrist Dempsey, 91, Peoria, Illinois, passed away on October 10, 2020. She was born on January 27, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri to the late Victor Hugo and Hazel Ann (Riley) Siegrist.

Rita is preceded in death by her husband James Henry Dempsey and son Sean McBrien Dempsey. She is survived by her sons James Henry, Jr (Deanna), Christopher Riley (Norma) and daughter Amy Kotansky (Kevin); as well as grandchildren Kristen Dempsey Pasyk (Matthew), Andrew Dempsey, Cristina Tortarolo (William Turner), Nathan Dempsey, Sarah (Dempsey) Gronde (Robert), and Annmarie Dempsey; and great grandchildren Darryl Dempsey, Elias Gronde, and Joy Pasyk.

Rita earned her bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue University in 1950, the second woman to earn that type of engineering degree from the university. Upon her graduation she moved to Florence, Alabama to work for Reynolds Metal Company where she met her husband Jim. They were married on October 31, 1953. They eventually moved to Peoria, Illinois. After their children were all in school, she returned to work at Caterpillar and retired in 1985.

Rita loved to knit earning a number of ribbons at the Illinois State Fair, study the derivation/definitions of words and working crossword puzzles. She was a Eucharistic Minister at various catholic churches in Peoria and took holy eucharist to those in the hospital and nursing homes.

Rita spent the remaining years of her life at Bickford Cottage Memory Care facility. The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the Bickford staff for the great loving care she received while living there.

In this COVID-19 environment, there will be a memorial service scheduled some time in the future. Memorial contributions can be made to the Central Illinois Alzheimer Association in the name of Bickford Cottage and Rita S Dempsey (


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Rita Dempsey

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