Rita Schmidt (Thiessen)
January 24, 1928 – June 29, 2018
Rita (Thiessen) Schmidt burst into life on January 24, 1928 in Friedensfeld Manitoba to Jacob and Margaret Thiessen. She was the fourth of six children, including Elvera, Bill, Jack, Abe and Marina. It was an active and lively home.
At the age of 14, Rita gave her life to Jesus Christ and then became a church member at age 16. Her faith and her church were to be mainstays of her life for the next 75 years. In her youth, Rita joined the church choir and when the choir director heard her voice, he coached her and then encouraged her to take further lessons. In the years to come she became soloist in the church choir and music went to be her life’s passion.
Rita married George Schmidt in 1949. It was a marriage that was to last into their 70th year together. Their first child, Eric was born in 1951 followed shortly by Walter and Lori. Sheila came along as a gift in 1961, 10 years after the first. Life for Rita was centered on her family and for many years her children and later her grandchildren as well, would gather every week for Sunday dinner. She loved nothing more than to be surrounded by the conversations and laughter and activities of family times together.
Rita’s home was always full of beautiful music. She played piano to enable her to teach voice professionally and love to sing sacred music. Through the years, Rita continued to study music and vocal instruction and received official qualification in both performance and teaching. She taught many wonderful students, many of whom have followed her throughout her lifetime. Some of her students continued on to professional careers in music, a particular point of pride for Rita. She taught up to 40 students per week, taught well into her 80’s, and had the joy of teaching her daughter and several great-grandchildren.
For Rita and George, their lives revolved around the church community. They became deacons early in their marriage and for most of their lives, they served their God in the most practical ways, loving and serving in the vibrant community that was the Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church. She was forever looking for ways to grow the church and to bring people to God, even to her final days in the hospital.
Rita as predeceased by her brothers Bill, Jack and Abe and her eldest son Eric. She leaves many loved ones, including her beloved husband George, daughter-in-law Anne, son Walter (Shirley), daughters Lori, Sheila (Rick Ardies), and many grand and great-grandchildren.
Memorial service will be on Wednesday July 4, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Portage Avenue Church, 1420 Portage Avenue. Viewing will be Tuesday, July 3 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Friends Funeral Service., with cremation to follow.
The family thanks the palliative staff at St. Boniface Hospital for their wonderful care.
Donations in memory of Rita may be made to Square One, available at the service.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Rita Margaret
Schmidt Thiessen 1928 2018.source