Mass of Christian burial celebrating the life of Rita Marie Schaefer, age 80 of Sartell will be at 11AM Saturday, January 26th 2013 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sartell.  Father Tim Baltis will officiate and a private family burial will take place Monday at Assumption cemetery.  Rita died peacefully in her home Thursday afternoon surrounded by her loving family.  There will be a visitation from 4-8 PM Friday, January 25th at St. Francis Xavier Catholic church, and again from 10AM until the time of the service once again Saturday morning at the church.  Parish prayers will take place at 7:30PM followed by the Christian women praying the rosary Friday evening at the church.  Arrangements are being made with the Miller-Carlin Funeral Home of St. Cloud.

Rita was born on a farm May 6, 1932, to Alfred and Cecelia (Kolb) Neeb in Sanborn, MN.  She attended country school district 56 through 4th grade after which she went to Sanborn Public School.  Upon graduating in 1949, she enrolled in the St. Cloud Hospital School of Nursing during which time she made lifelong friends.  After achieving her RN, she worked at the St. Cloud Hospital in the birthing and maternity department for two years.  On June 12, 1954, she married Richard Schaefer in Sanborn.  During the three years Richard attended dental school, Rita worked at the U of M Hospital Surgery Department.  They moved to St. Cloud where Richard started a dental practice.  Rita was most grateful at this time to become a full time mother and homemaker raising their nine children.  After many dedicated years of work and volunteering, Rita eventually retired to her home on the river in Sartell.

Rita’s dedication to her faith led her to be a Eucharistic minister at her parish, St. Francis Xavier in Sartell, where she brought communion to parishioners in their homes and at the St. Cloud Hospital.  She also volunteered with the Christian Mothers in her parish.  She greatly enjoyed travel throughout her lifetime including fishing trips to Northern Minnesota and Canada, and international trips to many countries where she loved meeting people from around the world.  She made countless happy memories spending summers at the Schaefer family cabin on Grand Lake.  Rita’s favorite pastimes were sewing and caring for her flowers and plants.  She took great pride in the cascading tiers of engleman ivy vines she lovingly committed much time and attention to tending, knowing that they brought happiness to those who waved from their boats as they passed by her home on the Mississippi River.

Rita was also a past member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church where she volunteered at the School, a member of La Sertoma Club, a Birthright Counselor, a member of St. Monica’s Christian women, and a dedicated St. Cloud Hospital volunteer.

Rita is survived by her loving husband Richard Schaefer, Sartell; her children Laura Garland, Green Bay, WI; Paula (Patrick) McCarthy, St. Paul; Julie (Mark) Toskey, Eden Prairie; Susan (Joseph) McNamara, Apple Valley; Tom (Maryann) Schaefer, Maplewood; Mary Hansen, Littleton, CO; Tim Schaefer, Denver, CO; Ted Schaefer, Rice; Joy (Tony) Harris, Minnetonka; her 14 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren; and her sister Agnes Wolf, Springfield, MN.

She is preceded by her mother and father Cecelia and Alfred Neeb, and her brothers Raymond and Gregory Neeb.

A special thank you from the family goes to Dr. Alkahtib, Debbie Corrigan RN, the Infusion Center Staff, and the St. Cloud Hospital Hospice nursing staff for the exceptional care they gave to Rita over the years.

Memorials are highly preferred to the Poor Clares Monastery, the Coborn Lung Cancer Center, and St. Cloud Hospital Hospice.