Rita Elaine Smith, age 84 of Baldwin WI, died on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Baldwin Care Center, surrounded by her children. Rita was born December 3, 1929 in Frederic WI to parents Martin and Viola (nee Duncan) Daeffler. Rita graduated from Frederic High School. At a young age, she would be united in marriage to Gordon Arthur Smith on November 13, 1948, and they would farm in several communities before settling near Baldwin. Their union in marriage would be blessed with ten children.
Rita was a true farm wife and homemaker, with a strong faith that helped in raising 10 children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. She also enjoyed raising chickens, cooking and baking, gardening and family gatherings. She made time to be involved with church, teaching Sunday school and participating in the ladies aide circle, 4-H and the county fair, Club 63 homemakers, and going to garage sales with her friends. Rita also enjoyed nature and feeding birds. She loved music and playing piano, reading, embroidery, and the joys of the holidays, especially Christmas.
After her children grew, Rita returned to school, and went to work at the Baldwin Care Center as a CNA for 13 years, and later as the Activities Aide and Director, for 22 years. Rita was a blessing to many throughout her life with a kind heart and love for all who knew her. Children remained her passion throughout her life and she took special care to make sure they knew they were loved.
Rita is survived by her children, Gail Klanderman and children Aaron and Angie, Virgil Smith and children Jeremy, Tanya, and Melissa, Scott Smith and daughter Allyson, Faye Bergin and children Amy, Emily, Andrea, and Tim, Doreen Smith and children, Deana, Dana and Darice, Russell (Donna) Smith, David (Cheryl) Smith and children Tara, Logan, and McKenna, Daniel (Lori) Smith and children Megan, Courtney, and Mariah, Duane (Edie) Smith and children Duane Jr. and Kayla, and Jennifer (Scott) Lamson; her brother, Milton (Mary Lou) Daeffler; sister, LaVerne Olson; brother-in-law, Harvey Bergquist; great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Rita was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon; grandson, Ryan Smith; daughter-in-law, MaryAnn; her parents; sisters Doris Bergquist and Opal Nelson; and brother-in-laws, Reuben Olson and Vernon Nelson.
Memorial Celebration of Life Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the Gilman Lutheran Church of rural Spring Valley WI, with Pastor Peter Friberg officiating. Visitation will be held 1 hour prior to services at church, and also from 4:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday, July 25, 2014 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 1010 Newton Street in Baldwin. A private family burial will take place at the Lorain Cemetery of Clam Falls, WI. Services are in the care of the O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Countryside Crematory of Baldwin WI. 715-684-3434
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