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  Passed away, surrounded by members of her loving family, on January 15, 2022 in Glendale, AZ at the age of 91 years.

Rita is preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Jack whom she married on October 27, 1951. Rita is survived by her seven children: Jack (Jennie), Kevin (Sheri), Joe (Yolanda), Kyle (Anne Marie), Jeff (Denise), Kerry (Zalena), and Kathleen Kersting-Leonard, 22 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Rita was born October 17, 1930 in Kansas City, MO.  She was the fourth child of Will and Cecilia Olson, She is preceded in death by her sisters, Mary Katherine (McDermott), Marge (Moore), and Theresa (Martel), and is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Rita was a straight A student in grade school, high school, and college where she majored in music. She attended Avila High School and Avila College in Kansas City, MO. From a young age, she was a gifted musician often playing organ and piano in church in Kansas City and for many years at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Crestwood, MO, and for nearly 40 years at St. Louis the King Church in Glendale, AZ.

Music was a significant part of Rita’s life. She taught piano lessons to hundreds of students in MO and AZ.  She was an accompanist for her church choirs and along with her husband, Jack, performed in many musical reviews and plays.  For several years, Rita taught music at St. Jerome Catholic School in Glendale, AZ and later, for 15 years, taught special education at Alhambra High School, AZ.

Rita thoroughly enjoyed a trip to the casino or a day spent at a winery with family and friends.  A favorite pastime was playing bridge with her sisters.  Rita was an avid fan of both professional and amateur sports.  She loved cheering on her favorite teams and was always the biggest supporter of her husband, children and grandchildren on and off the field, pitch, court or pool.

She would confess to you that her greatest accomplishment was being a wife and mother. And, indeed, Rita was a loving wife and a kind, gentle, sweet, and proud mother and grandmother. She often said in later years what a full, happy and healthy life she had led and how grateful to God she was for His abundant blessings. “I do not know what I would do without my faith. I do not know how people manage without it. God has been very good to me and given me such a wonderful family.”

Funeral procession will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, from Kutis Funeral Home, 10151 Gravois Rd, St. Louis, MO 63123 and proceed to a graveside service at 10:00 at Resurrection Cemetery, 6901 MacKenzie Rd., St. Louis, MO