Rita Cecile Franchek
Rita was born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and as the eldest girl of twelve, she spent much of her childhood caring for her younger brothers and sisters. After high school, she attended nursing school in Africa, devoting several years of her life to providing health care to impoverished communities. She faced many challenges during that time, including having to suture a stab wound on her own hand from a witch doctor who was resistant to her aiding a dying child, being trapped in her jeep surrounded by a pride of lions with an empty tank of gas, and having multiple close encounters with snakes.
She returned home, and spent the next several decades caring for her family of four children, Richard, Kathy, Matthew and Joan, with her husband Bert.
Rita served as the director of religious education in her church, as well as a public figure in her community who was often sought out to be a counselor, spiritual advisor, mentor, nurse, and friend. As Rita grew older, she assumed more roles as a caregiver. While most grandparents are content with moving to Florida and buying a golf cart, Rita played an active role in the lives of her eight grandchildren. She lived with her daughter Kathy and her husband Ben, alleviating some of the stressors of their growing careers by caring for their two children, Therese and Benjamin. Even after she could no longer take care of herself, she made an effort to care for those in her assisted living facility, holding their hands and comforting them when they seemed upset.
From the day she was born until the day she died, Rita Franchek was a caregiver and radiated hospitality, warmth, and love to everyone she met. At the end of this beautiful life, all we can say is ‘thank you.’ — Benjamin A Roa, Grandson
A funeral mass will be held at 10 am on Saturday April 8, 2017 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 3015 E Creek Road, Cottonwood Heights, UT. In lieu of flowers, the family requests charitable donations in her honor to the YWCA in Salt Lake City (www.ywcautah.org).