Rita R. Soderbeck

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Rita Rose (Johnson) Soderbeck, 79, of Suring, left this world to be with her husband, Mel, on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2017. She was affectionately known as Rockin’ Rita. She will be missed by many.

Rita came into this world on March 12, 1938, born to Evelyn and Frank Johnson in Blackwell. Their world would never be the same. She might have been small, but she was mighty and lived life to its fullest.

Rita enjoyed her time with family and friends. A hot cup of coffee, and many times a treat, would be waiting for you when you stepped into her kitchen. If coffee wasn’t your thing, she made a mean Old-Fashioned. Rita loved to cook for her family and friends, and an amazing cook she was.

Rita was married to Lawrence Fenn. After their divorce, she met and married the love of her life, Melvin Soderbeck, on Nov. 27, 1972. Rita and Mel farmed in the town of How until Mel retired. She worked at the Red Owl and Stengels grocery stores until they closed. Following this, she was a janitor in the Suring School District.

Rita enjoyed traveling to sign in with her friend, Jan Schenk, and coffee talk with her informant, Roger Phillipi. She loved word searches, puzzles, and handing out full-size candy bars for the Halloween ghouls. Rita made friends easily with everyone she met. She said it like it was.

Rita is survived by her children, Vicky (Jeff) Radish, Donna (Steve) Rakow, Dawn (John) Twardowski, Debra (Todd) Kalies, Bryan (Joelle) Soderbeck; stepchildren, Butch Soderbeck and Carol (Larry) Donahue; stepdaughter-in-law, Diane Soderbeck; 23 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Bucko Johnson, Eunice Jaklin, Eileen Collins, Frank Johnson, Beverly Lewis, Susan (Gary) Mercil, Whitey (Richard) Tachick, Laverne (Barb) Johnson, Bobby (Diane) Johnson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Mel; her parents, Frank Johnson and Evelyn (Glinski) Johnson-LaFountain; stepson, William Soderbeck; one stepgrandson; sisters, Geraldine Granath, Sharon Steer-Wiedemier; brothers-in-law, Mike Steer, Delroy Collins, Dieck Johnson, Eldon Jaklin, Lyle Lewis.

Visitation will be held at St. John Lutheran Church in Hayes on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, from 2 p.m. until the funeral service at 5 p.m. with Pastor Nick Buchholz officiating.

Gruetzmacher Funeral Home in Suring is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences can be expressed at www.gruetzmacherfuneralhome.com.

Special thanks to Unity Hospice for the care and compassion offered to Rita and her family during their time of need.