Rita Lorée Juneau, 79, died of natural causes Thursday, Dec. 15, in Portland, Ore.
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Her funeral is 2 p.m. Friday at Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home, with burial in Highland Cemetery. O'Connor Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Rita Lorée passed away peacefully into the loving arms of her Lord on Dec. 15, 2011.
She was born Feb. 29, 1932, on a farm near Hampden, N.D. She was known as "Lorée" to her family, and as "Rita" to her co-workers.
Rita Loree attended school in North Dakota; Hampden School, then Newbre School until eighth grade. Newbre was a country school, which she was proud to say her grandfather helped build. She attended high school in Lawton, N.D., and played piano with the Harmony Pals dance band.
Rita married Stanley Balek from Lawton. They moved to Great Falls to live near Stan's aunt and uncle Gib-bons, who had migrated west.
Most of Rita's adult life was spent caring for her children and others. She worked in the following hospitals and nursing homes in Great Falls; the old Columbus Hospital, the Deaconess Hospital, Parkway Nursing Home, McCauley Nursing Home and the Deaconess Nursing Home when it was new. She also worked for short times in the hospitals in Kalispell, and Devils Lake, N.D., and in nursing homes in Aloha, Ore., and Beaverton, Ore., until her retirement in 1995. Following retirement, Rita remained in Beaverton, where many dear friends living in her apartment building visited with her daily.
Rita's main hobby was making beautiful silk flower and dried flower arrangements. Her work was admired in Great Falls, and in Beaverton, where she became known as the "wreath lady" and "Rita Dunnit" at fall and holiday bazaars. Rita Lorée was incredibly talented and creative - playing piano, singing, drawing, writing poetry and a book, gardening, sewing and crafting. She baked several different kinds of Scandinavian cookies that were shared with family and friends during holidays.
She is survived by her children, Suzanne (Ralph) Dahlquist of Snohomish, Wash., Renée (John) DuGal of Corvallis, Mont., Thomas (Linda) Balek of Lewistown, and Wendy Olson-Padron of Missoula; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She also leaves siblings Carole and LeRoy; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Rita was preceded in death by her parents and her younger brother, Larry.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Rita's favorite charity: Red Cloud Indian School, 100 Mission Drive, Pine Ridge, SD 57770. See www.redcloudschool.org
Condolences may be posted online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Dec. 28, 2011