Rita Julie Dudley, 55

Rita Julie Dudley, 55, of Columbia, Missouri, was called to heaven on September 17, 2013. She fought a valiant fight against cancer for over 7 years. The terrible disease finally won. She passed in her sleep with her husband, Daryl, by her side.

Rita was born February 19, 1958, in Nevada, Iowa to Raymond and Opal Nelson (who survive). She graduated from West Marshall High School in State Center, Iowa in 1976. She received an Associates Degree in Elementary Education, specializing in Developmentally Disabled Children from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa in 1978. While at Ellsworth she met her future husband, Daryl, to whom she was married for 35 wonderful years.

Rita loved to travel and had visited all 50 states. She visited Hawaii in December of 2012 to complete the list. Rita was a very accomplished florist and loved designing with fresh and artificial flowers. When she was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2006 she learned to knit. Rita spent many hours in the chemo chair knitting baby caps for donation to Boone Hospital Center for newborn babies. Rita touched many lives with her caring and her smile. Rita worked at Hy-Vee as a Floral Manager and later as a Health Food Department Manager.

Rita was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Dan Dudley in 1979 and a brother-in-law, Chuck Newgard in 2008. Left behind to cherish her memory are her husband, Daryl, an older sister, Lola Newgard, an older brother, Loyd (Diane) Nelson, a younger sister, Ruth (Doug) Halvorsen, her parents Raymond and Opal Nelson, and her mother-in-law and father-in-law Diann and Bob Shaner and a brother-in-law Don (Sherri) Dudley. Rita had many Aunts, Uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. Rita touched many lives in many states. She will be missed by all.

We are diminished by this loss.

A very special thanks must be said to all of the people at Missouri Cancer Associates and Boone Hospital who were such a big part of the last seven years of Rita’s life.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to The American Cancer Society.

A visitation will be held September 21, 2013 at Memorial Funeral Home from 2:00 to 5:00. There will be a service on October 5, 2013 at the Lutheran Church in McCallsburg, Iowa at 2:00. A visitation will be held October 6, 2013 from 2:00 to 4:00 at Linn’s Funeral Home in Iowa Falls, Iowa. A private burial will follow in Friends Cemetery in Iowa Falls.

“Some of it’s magic and some of it’s tragic. But it’s been a good life all the way.” Jimmy Buffett

Online condolences may be left at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com