Jeannine “Red” Rissi, 62, of Center Point, passed away in the late morning hours on Sunday September 1, 2019 at St. Luke’s Hospital. Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday September 6, 2019, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church by Rev. Mark Ressler. A visitation will be held on Thursday September 5, 2019 at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m. She will be laid to rest at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. The Funeral Mass is a celebration of Red’s wonderful and caring life. If you are most comfortable wearing black and greys feel free to do so, however in Red’s honor if you would prefer to celebrate her life with splashes of color that is also encouraged.
Surviving is her husband, Matthew W. Rissi, her four children, Heather Rissi (Tony), Nate Rissi (Jamie), Zach Rissi (Melanie), J.J. Rissi (Sara), her step-father, Pete Tognarelli, her siblings, Jack Westerheide, Marilyn McAdams, Carla Hall, Terry Vacca, Jackie Meier and Pam Massa, and her twelve beloved grandchildren, Alex Whitson, Leighla Riemma, Trey Riemma, Chase Riemma, Talan Rissi, Trevin Riemma, Landon Rissi, Ryder Rissi, Finn Rissi, Beau Rissi, Sawyer Rissi and River Rissi. When Red entered heaven, she was reunited with her parents whom she missed deeply.
Red was born February 24, 1957 in East St. Louis, Illinois, the daughter of Jack and Virginia Westerheide. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 44 years, Matthew W. Rissi. They married on June 27, 1975 in Collinsville, Illinois. She was a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and taught preschool and bible school in her earlier years.
Red was famous for many things: homemade dilly beans, salsa, jelly, banana cake and rhubarb cake were a few favorites. Those that knew her best though, came for the frog legs, turtle and squirrel. What she loved most in life was spending time with her children and grandchildren. She was never without books, toys, and bubbles for her grandchildren. People knew not to make plans with her on the weekends in the fall unless it involved watching college football with her. What Red was most famous for was her unfailing ability to make everyone around her feel special, welcomed, and loved. It wasn’t possible to hold her in a conversation too long, tell a story too boring, or hug her too tightly. Whether it be her children, grandchildren, grocery store clerk, or even a wrong number, she gave everyone she encountered her undivided attention and unconditional support, without discrimination and without fail, leaving nothing but newfound best friends in her wake.
With Red’s passing comes a deep sorrow for all who were lucky enough to know and love her. Her kindness, selflessness, innocent spirit, and loving heart will never be forgotten; her fuchsia lipstick kiss never fade. Through her family and friends, her caring and giving spirit lives on.
As Red once said to us, we now say to her, “God love ya, sweetheart. The sky’s the limit.”