Rita A. Elking, 97, of New Bremen died 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, at the Heritage Center in Minster where she had resided for the last nine years. She was born on Jan. 9, 1923 in Wendelin, the daughter of the late Stephen and Elisabeth M. (Miller) Wendel. On Jan. 9, 1946, she married Louis M. Elking, who died on Oct. 24, 1981. Surviving are her sons: James (Pam) Elking of Miamisburg, Michael (Lois) Elking of New Bremen and Jeffery (Shirley) Elking of New Bremen and daughters: Edith (Ron) Schwartz of New Bremen, Joyce (Roger) Moubray of Tipp City and Diana (Steve) Hartwig of New Bremen. Also surviving are her 17 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, with one on the way, and one great-great grandson. Along with her parents and husband, Rita was preceded in death by a great-granddaughter and all of her siblings: Theresia (August) Beumer, Mary (Werner) Roeckner, Aloys (Armella) Wendel, Raymond (Cecila) Wendel, Ida (Basil) Pease, Adolph (Leona) Wendel, Alma (Leo) Kaiser, Alvina (Hugo) Laux, Wilma (Louis) Knapke and Armella (William) Timmerman.
Rita attended school at St. Henry. Growing up on the farm, she was responsible for the care of the work horses, making sure they were fed and groomed. In her late teens, she became a housekeeper for a family in Dayton and later worked for Mersman Furniture in Celina. After her marriage to Louis, she became a full-time farm wife and mother. She embraced the farming lifestyle, raising chickens, tending to the cattle and she also grew a huge garden to feed her family. At the age of 60, she began working in the cafeteria at New Bremen Schools until she retired in 2003 after 20 years of service. Spending time with her family at the holidays was always special to Rita and she always made specialized gifts for each of the grandchildren. As a member of the Church of the Holy Redeemer in New Bremen, Rita was a woman with a deep Christian faith and her devotion to Mary was an integral part of who she was.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27 at the Church of the Holy Redeemer in New Bremen, with Rev. Thomas Dorn and Deacon Mr. Greg Bornhorst officiating. Inurnment will follow in the Precious Blood Cemetery, Chickasaw. There will be one hour of calling prior to the Mass at the church on Wednesday. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the L&R Elking Scholarship Fund or to the St. Peter's Neurological Center. The Memorial Mass will be live streamed on the church YouTube channel and Facebook page, which can be found through the church website: HRCatholic.org
for those who are unable or choose not to attend. The Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements and condolences to the family can be left online at GilbergHartwigFH.com.