Rita Ann Graber


Tuesday, June 29


Rita Ann (Graber) Graber was born Feb. 14, 1931, east Freeman to Carl J. and Lena (Preheim) Graber, joining two older brothers, Cleon and O’Ray. Together they shared fond memories of growing up on the farm and attending grade school at North Star District 66. 

On May 26, 1946, Rita was baptized by Rev. J.J. Regier at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church, where she remained a faithful member all her life.

As a child, Rita spent time in Sioux Valley Hospital for a tonsillectomy and decided she wanted to be a nurse. After graduating from Freeman Academy in 1949, she attended Freeman Jr. College one year and then left for Newton, Kan., to begin nurses training at Bethel Deaconess School of Nursing. In 1953, she started working at the Freeman Community Hospital and continued part-time or full-time for 44 years. 

Rita and Palmer Graber were married on June 29, 1956, and farmed while raising their three children. She served on various committees at church, the hospital and Freeman Jr. College and Academy.

A few years after Palmer passed away in 1981, Rita moved into Freeman and, after retiring from nursing, enjoyed attending various activities and traveling. Her lifelong hobbies included sewing, reading, gardening and hosting friends and family members in her home. She especially loved spending time with her grandchildren, many dear cousins, former schoolmates and hospital co-workers. Rita moved into the Salem Home in September 2018. 

Cherishing her memory are daughter, Debra (Steve) Schmeichel, Hurley; son William (Lisa) Graber, Erie, Colo.; son Stewart (Krista) Graber, Sioux Falls; grandchildren, Paula (Tom) VerDouw, Susan(Ben) Harder, Ethan (Jessica) Schmeichel, Skyler Graber, Lee Graber, Kameron Graber and Cole Graber; five great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by husband Palmer, parents Carl (1986) and Lena (1988), parents-in-law Julius (1966) and Caroline (1976), brothers Cleon (2014) and O’Ray (2016), their wives Marjorie (2010) and Edith (2018); Palmer’s siblings and their spouses; Elmer (Clara C.), Felix (Bernice), Clara J. (Beryl) Winters, Margaret (James) Preheim, Leta (Gordon) Remlinger and Delores (Delbert) Kaufman.

A funeral service was held Saturday, June 17, at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church of Freeman.

Arrangements provided by Walter Funeral Home in Freeman.

Comments are closed.

  • Kathryn Jeanne (Bollinger) Cink

    September 22nd, 2021

    81 Monday, Sept. 13 Sioux Falls On April 4, 1940, Kathy was born in Bridgewater to Clarence and Eleanor (Vogt) […]

    Eldon Berg

    September 15th, 2021

    84 Wednesday, Sept. 1 Marion Eldon H Berg was born on Aug. 17, 1937 to Henry C. and Mary Engbrecht […]

    Andrew “Andy” Dykshorn

    September 8th, 2021

    75 Tuesday, Aug. 31 Parker  Andrew J. Dykshorn was born on Nov. 24, 1945, at Mitchell to Andrew and Irene […]

    Allen Schrag

    September 2nd, 2021

    96 Wednesday, Aug. 18 Marion On Sept 20, 1924, Allen Schrag was born to Rev. John and Katie (Miller) Schrag […]

    Irene Richardson

    August 25th, 2021

    95 Saturday, August 14, 2021 Parker  Irene Genevieve Richardson was born on July 24, 1926, at Rock Valley, Iowa, to […]

  • Darlene Kaufman

    August 18th, 2021

    90  Monday, Aug. 9 Marion  Darlene was born June 12, 1931, at the family farm at Marion to Abe J. […]

    Rod “Grizz” Garrison

    August 18th, 2021

    73 Thursday, July 22 Sioux Falls.   Rodney Allen Garrison was born on Nov. 2, 1947, at Urbana, Mo., to […]

    Kevin Leber

    August 18th, 2021

    58 Wednesday, August 11 Parker Kevin Leber, 58 of Parker, passed away on August 11, 2021 at the Sanford USD […]

    Ronald J. Leber

    August 18th, 2021

    86  March 29, 2020 Parker  Ronald Jerome Leber was born on Feb. 20, 1934, at Parker to Vincent and Cecil […]

    Deborah Pederson

    August 12th, 2021

    68  Thursday, Aug. 5 Viborg  Deborah Kay Pederson was born on May 29, 1953, near Kaylor to Floyd and Edith […]

  • What’s Happening

    `Swan Lake’ development denied

    Dawn Rye | Writer It all came down to the details when the Turner County board of commissioners met regarding […]

    Parker vendor fair spawns return of the Turtle Races

    Donna Rumbaugh | Managing Editor Turtle Days is an event that started back in the 70’s in Parker.  It was […]

    Parts shortage will keep auto parts rising

    Dawn Rye | Writer Back in the spring, it appeared a shortage of computer chips had sent auto prices soaring. […]