Sarah Kathleen Riesz
Sarah Kathleen Riesz died May 12, 2019, at home in Iowa City from metastatic ovarian cancer. A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. Cremains will be interred at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, N.Y.
Sarah was born Feb. 13, 1972, the daughter of Elizabeth D. and Peter C. Riesz, was a lifelong resident of Iowa City. In 1993, she graduated from the Special Education Program at West High School. She worked part-time at Target (1998 to 2017) and at MidwestOne Bank (1993 to 2018) through supported employment by Rural Employment Alternatives and Employment Systems. Sarah competed in Special Olympics swimming and bowling, and belonged to a local fitness club. Her supported living residence, supervised by Reach for Your Potential, provided stability and pleasure. She enjoyed Frisbee, pingpong, playing checkers and UNO, and working puzzles. Sarah's passion for music was expressed through participation in Sound Reach Choir sponsored by West Music, keyboard practice, and by listening to her collection of record albums and CDs. She especially benefited from the music ministry of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, particularly the organ.
Sarah's life spanned the period during which services for individuals with disabilities were evolving nationally and locally. Her accomplishments are due to the teachers, speech therapists and vocational coaches in the Iowa City Community School District and Grant Wood AEA, to job coaches in Rural Employment Alternatives, the therapists at West Music, the coaches in Special Olympics and her employers. Iowa City's excellent educational, recreational and medical programs, as well as Johnson County's support services, enabled her full engagement in the community.
Sarah's mother published a book entitled "First Years of a Down Syndrome Child" in 1978, which was translated into Japanese with updates as "Sarah Has Down Syndrome" in 1992. She also authored a cookbook based on recipes developed for Sarah entitled "Let's Cook!" in 2010.
Sarah is survived by her father, Peter C. Riesz of Iowa City; an uncle, W. Bruce Dunkman, M.D. and his wife, Karen of Philadelphia; an aunt, Margaret Riesz of Springfield, Va.; cousins, W. Jonathan Dunkman, M.D. and his wife, Samantha S. Schilling, M.D. of Chapel Hill, N.C., Andrew A. Dunkman, M.D. of Rochester, N.Y., and Charles E. Riesz and his wife Penny of Ellicott City, Md.
She was predeceased by her mother, who died in January 2019.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church or Reach for Your Potential, both of Iowa City.