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Rita's Story

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Rita Louise Youker, 92, of Traverse City, passed away at French Manor LaFranier with her family by her side.
Rita was born on the family farm in Hannah, on Feb. 15, 1925, to Francis "Fritz" and Mary Louise (Steinebach) Kreiser. Active in her local 4-H under the leadership of Mrs. Frances Youker, she became acquainted with and later engaged to Frances' son, Jim. Rita graduated from St. Mary's of Hannah High School in 1944. On a cold, Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 1947, Rita married James Youker at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hannah before Rev. Fr. Clement Sigmund. Together they had two children.
Rita went to work at the Traverse City State Hospital shortly after high school, obtained her LPN, and retired after over 35 years of employment. In 1967, Jim and Rita moved from their dairy farm in Monroe Center, to a cottage they had built on Duck Lake, and from there to a home they built in Traverse City. The cottage on the lake continued to remain a place where many wonderful summer memories were made. After retirement, Jim and Rita spent their winters in Zephyrhills, Florida where they made many friends and more happy memories.
Rita was a devout Catholic and belonged to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Traverse City. She enjoyed cooking, baking, traveling, gardening, reading, music, dancing (particularly square dance and polka), genealogy, sewing, crafts and interior design. She was full of many interesting and sometimes humorous stories about her parents, grandparents and events surrounding the early years of the establishment of St. Mary's of Hannah parish and local area.
She is survived by two children, Bradley Youker, of Grawn and Barbara (Fred) Weber, of Buckley; grandchildren, Ryan (Christine) Kron, Adam Youker, Michael Youker, CJ (Melissa) Weber and Kelly (Frank) Snyder; great-grandchildren, Gavin, Maya, Ian and Cassidy Weber; Kaiden, Cameron and Rylen Kron; and Jacob and Sylas Snyder. Also surviving are two sisters, Patricia Weber, of Stockton, California and Yvonne Simsa, of Traverse City; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Preceding her in death were her husband, James; and brothers, Ralph, Carl and Gerald.
The family would like to thank Julie Bradley and the many caring staff who cared for Rita at French Manor LaFranier, as well as Suzanne Holt for the compassionate and dedicated care she showed to Rita these last few years.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 at St. Francis at 1 p.m. with visitation beginning at noon. Rev. Fr. Kenneth Stachnik will preside over the service. Interment will follow at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Father Fred Foundation or to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
Please visit www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com to sign Rita's online guestbook and to share your memories with the family.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
Published on November 28, 2017
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