Rita L. Shellito, 79, of rural Chetek, Rusk Township, Rusk County, Wis., passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wis., with her family at her side. Rita L. Hansen was born on Oct. 22, 1940 in Sycamore, Ill., the daughter of Leland and Merle (Rohde) Hansen.
Rita graduated in 1958 from Sycamore High School where she was active in the acapella choir and also where she met her future husband. She and Duane were married on June 21, 1958. She and Duane loved stock car racing, and she drove in the “powder puff” races. She was also a member of the Bob-Jo Speedettes and was a runner up as their queen! As they started their family, the racing days ended and Rita was a stay-at-home mom and housewife. She did briefly work at Brown’s Supermarket as a meat packager and later at the Sycamore Feed Store where she loved helping people with flowers and gardening supplies. She also loved her bowling nights and trips to tournaments.
Rita was a 4-H leader for many years and shared with the youth her love for all animals, especially horses. She helped teach many kids how to ride and accompanied her daughter to hundreds of horse shows, and even showed her dream horse, “Emmy” a few times.
After retirement to their log cabin on Potato Lake, Wis., Rita enjoyed gardening, flowers, feeding the birds (and squirrels) and going fishing. She also worked as an election official for the Town of Rusk and served as the secretary/treasurer for the Buck Lake Sportsman’s Club for several years.
Although she loved all aspects of retirement, what Rita loved the most was being a mom, grandmother and great-grandmother. She even nicknamed her grandsons “Spud” and “Tater” after Potato Lake.
Rita had a quick wit, hilarious sense of humor, a very wide stubborn streak and the courage of a lion in facing her many illnesses. She will be missed by everyone who’s life she touched.
Rita leaves to celebrate her memory: her husband, Duane Shellito; her daughter, Kim (Bill) Ziegler; grandchildren, Austin (Tammy) Tucker and Trent (Katie) Ziegler; great-grandchildren, Andrew, Oliver, Natalie and a baby boy Max due in November; her brother, Gary (Carol) Hansen; her sister, Sandy (Ed) Torbett; nieces; nephews and other loving family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Leland and Merle Hansen; and two children in infancy, Dale and Joleen.
Rita’s family will greet visitors at the Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Family Funeral Home in Chetek on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, from 4–6 p.m. She will be laid to rest at a later date in Sycamore, Ill.
The family kindly asks that guests please wear facial coverings and practice the social distancing guidelines while attending the visitation.
The Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Family Funeral Home of Chetek has been entrusted with arrangements.