Rita Root, age 89, of Miles City passed away on Friday, April 10, 2015 at the Cottonwood Care Home.
Rita Schumacher Root was born on the family farm in Crofton, NE, on September 13, 1925, the fourth child of Anna (Kube) and Anton Schumacher. The family moved to Bloomfield, NE, when Rita was 10 years old, and then to Hartington, NE, when she was 15. Rita graduated from Hartington High School in 1943, and worked at the dime store in Hartington until she moved to New Jersey, in 1944, to live with her sister Lorraine. While in New Jersey, Rita met Dan Root of Miles City who was in the Navy with a Hartington friend of the Schumacher’s. Rita and Dan corresponded through the remainder of World War II and their romance continued for the duration of their lives together. In 1946, after Dan returned to Miles City from the service, Rita moved to Miles City and began working at the Range Riders Bar, Café and Dining Room. Rita and Dan were married on March 30, 1948 and remained a loving and devoted couple until Dan’s passing in February 1991.
Rita and Dan had two children, Patricia and Marie. Rita was a working woman through her life, with several years of employment at Safeway, and retired in 1987 after working at Sears for over 23 years. After her retirement, Rita became active with volunteer work through RSVP, volunteering mostly with the Same Day Surgery Unit and the Clinic at HolyRosaryMedicalCenter. Rita was an avid gardener and she had a natural affinity with animals of all kinds, raising an orphaned great horned owl over the course of one summer, and “dog sitting” for friends over the years. She maintained correspondence and contact with friends and family throughout the country, and she was thrilled to have visits from people with whom she kept contact over the years. Rita went on several coach trips with her sister- and brother-in-law and traveled to New Orleans, New York, and Old Amsterdam with her daughter Marie. The Root Girls’ last road trip was March 2014 to visit Rita’s brother in Nebraska. “Onward through the spring blizzards to the next Chinese buffet and the next fish fry!” Rita was thoughtful and generous, remembering others with baked goods, notes, treats and a supportive listening ear. She was notably courteous in her dealings with others, always an example of positive people skills.
Health challenges necessitated Rita’s move to assisted living and, in July 2014, Rita changed residences to Cottonwood Care Home. There Rita enjoyed loving relationships with staff and particularly enjoyed Kaci’s homemade soups. Rita’s winter had been especially challenging and she had her long-anticipated reunion with Dan on Friday, April 10, 2015, with her dear friend Ladd Coates at her side.
Rita was preceded in passing by her life’s love Dan, daughter Patti, sister Lorraine, brothers Jerome and Paul, and the Root family sisters- and brothers-in-law and their mates. She is survived by her daughter Marie, granddaughter Michelle, brother
Gerald (Betty), and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Rita is also survived by her friend, the “good lad” Ladd Coates, good neighbors Marge and Kelly Gardner, and numerous friends from her many years of living and working in Miles City.
Rita wished to be cremated and a celebration of Rita’s life will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 2pm at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home. An ice cream social in honor of Rita will follow in the reception hall. Interment will occur in the Custer County Cemetery at a later date. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the community or environmental group of choice. Heart’s rest and Godspeed, dear Rita.