Cover photo for Rita Shek's Obituary
Rita Shek Profile Photo
1933 Rita 2024

Rita Shek

December 15, 1933 — April 9, 2024

Kalamazoo, MI

Rita Mae Shek gracefully danced her way to Heaven on Tuesday April 9, 2024. The eldest of three girls, Rita was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on December 15th, 1933 to the late Cleo and Everett Mort.

 As a child, summers were spent in Milham Park, and later as a teenager, she worked at her grandmother’s restaurant in Pullman, MI, where she perfected the art of making a malted milkshake, one of her go-tos when making breakfast for her grandchildren. It was at the restaurant that she met Paul Shek, and along came ten children, countless acres of blueberry bushes, and occasional Sunday evenings spent listening to records and dancing in the living room with the family. Those who truly knew and loved Rita, know that she wore many hats throughout her lifetime. She was an avid reader, a phenomenal sister to Mary Ewoski and Sharon Terpstra, a woman of Catholic faith, an amateur race car driver in her Jeep, a breast cancer survivor, an expert seamstress, a hero to many of her grandchildren, and no dance floor was complete without its dancing queen. 

Rita’s most admirable attributes were her selflessness, independence, dependability, generosity and loving heart. If called upon, she was always willing to lend a hand without hesitation whether it be caring for an ill grandchild, driving a loved one to an appointment, repairing someone’s favorite pair of jeans, or baking one of her famous desserts for a charity event. Rita was known to make impromptu, quick visits but seldom came empty handed and would often bring pierogis, banana bread or peanut butter cookies. Rita’s zest for life was inspirational and infectious and often left loved ones wondering how she seemed to fit 48 hours worth of activities into a 24 hour day. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Sharon and her daughter, Patty. Her absence will be deeply felt by her sister, Mary; children, grandchildren; great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews, and friends. 

Her loved ones request that if one feels inclined, that donations be made to Western Michigan University Senior Day Services, WMU Foundation Gift Processing, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo MI, 49008 (WMU Center for Disability Services in memo line) or donate at this secure link: Giving - Center for Disability Services, or to Vibrant Life Senior Living, 3700 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49006, in Rita’s name.

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