Rita R. Cook, 81, passed away peacefully at home on July 25, 2019. Rita was born Sept. 29, 1937, to Gale and Leora Watkins in Ruthven, Iowa. She attended school in Ruthven while being raised by her grandmother, Ruth Monk. Rita married Edward Cook on June 12, 1954, who in Rita’s own words, had “pretty red hair and shoulders that wouldn’t quit.” This union of 49 years was blessed with three children. Rita and Ed came to Florida In 1961. For a time, they lived in Washington State, staffing an RV park, where they enjoyed the wildlife that wandered through. They returned to Ruthven in 1991 and traveled back and forth living in Florida, Washington and Iowa. After Ed’s passing in 2003, Rita remained in Ruthven until 2008, then returned to Florida to live with her daughter, Viola Soffe, of Dunnellon. There, Rita’s joy was helping in her daughter’s yarn shop, craft shows and enjoyed their pool. Rita was small, but mighty of spirit. Quick to laugh, she thoroughly enjoyed it when all her family was around for Christmas and other gatherings. She was an avid embroiderer, her favorite item to make was dish towels. She loved doing puzzles on her iPad, her cats and dogs almost as much as her kids; she called her incredibly spoiled chihuahua, HoneyBun, her “fur baby.”
Rita was preceded in death by her husband, Ed; parents, Gale and Leora Watkins; brothers, Martin and Vernon Watkins; sisters-in-law, Polly Watkins and Eva Watkins; brother-in-law, Richard Cook.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Ernest Cook and wife, Valarie, of Lanett, Ala.; Viola Soffe and husband, Paul, of Dunnellon; and Sandy Pearson and husband, Loren, of Storm Lake, Iowa; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Rita touched many lives in small and large ways, and is loved and remembered by more people than she could have imagined. She will be dearly missed.
There will be a celebration of her life from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in our home at 18755 SW 60th St., overlooking her garden, no flowers please, potted plants are welcome.