Cover photo for Joan Reitz's Obituary
Joan Reitz Profile Photo
1951 Joan 2022

Joan Reitz

December 23, 1951 — October 11, 2022


Joan (Syte) Ruth Reitz, age 70, died peacefully Tuesday afternoon, October 11 at St. Mary's Hospital with her family at her side. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer and contracted pneumonia as a complication of her treatment.

Joan, better known as Syte (a Lithuanian nickname meaning 'little sister'), was born December 23, 1951 in Brooklyn, NY to her parents Albin and Ruta Strazdis. She attended St. Benedict Labre School in Queens, and Marymount Catholic High School in Manhattan. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from State University of New York - Stony Brook, and a PhD from Rutgers University, with postdoctoral studies at Princeton University, eventually beginning an Assistant Professorship in Biochemistry at Oakland University in Michigan.

Syte met her husband Rolf at SUNY and they were married in Princeton on August 16, 1974.  Their two sons were born in Michigan.  Rolf's work then took the family to Madison, WI, and in the mid-1990s Syte began homeschooling her sons all the way through high school.  She was a devout Catholic and shared her insights on the Church, morality and culture through her website,

In the summer of 2022, Syte was diagnosed with metastasized cancer.  In her last weeks, she had the joy of being surrounded with her family, and of attending Rolf's initiation into the Catholic Faith.  Syte is survived by her husband Rolf, her sons Chris (Rebecca) and Tom (Tracey), her three granddaughters, and her younger brother Lucius (Vida) Strazdis. She is preceded in death by her parents and older brother Vytas.

Syte's Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Madison, WI at 10am. A burial service will follow at Resurrection Cemetery on the near-west side of Madison.  In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Women’s Care Center would be appreciated.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joan Reitz, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church

120 W Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Starts at 1:30 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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