Rita Marie Crook, born Rita M. Rauwald (October 13, 1949 – Feb 5 2011) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of John and Louella (Saeman) Rauwald. Rita M. Crook was a loving, faithful wife, devoted grandmother and great grandmother, a loving caring mother to her own children, and countless others who affectionately knew her as “Mama Rita”.

 Rita was a gracious, inspirational and kind-hearted woman that enjoyed impacting others in a positive way. She was a hard-working professional that wouldn’t accept no for an answer. Her challenges in life defined her as a person. The most important quality of a person is often what they learn in a time of challenge, rather than their successes, and Rita demonstrated this throughout her life. Rita had this unbelievable ability to make people feel warm around her, she loved to talk, and smiled her way through life. For those of you who know her well, you would often hear these words out of her mouth, “Just remember, there are many people in life that have it far worse than you, and until you live a day in their shoes, don’t pass judgement”.

Rita enjoyed the little joys of life. She loved things such as traveling, shopping, motorcycle trips, talking (she could talk the ear off anyone) and being a positive influence in young people’s lives. She was a spirited and  wonderful inspiration to many during her courageous battle with cancer. For many of us, we may not understand how difficult this battle truly was for her. What’s amazing is she never once complained, or said, why me? She was gracious and thanked god for every day she was given. Many of us know people who have been impacted by this horrible disease. Many of us have lost loved ones, and some have loved ones that are blessed to have survived. Rita lost her battle, but she would want all of her loved ones to know that she is watching over them each and every day.