Rita E. Poettker

    • Service Date

      Saturday, June 8, 2024

    • Service Time

      11:00 a.m.

    • Service Location

      St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church ~ Aviston

    • Full Obituary

      Rita E. Poettker, age 96, of Aviston, IL, departed this life on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at Breese Nursing Home in Breese, Illinois.


      Rita Elizabeth, nee Kleffner, Poettker was born on October 4, 1927, the daughter of Theodore John and Theresa Philomena, nee Lischwe, Kleffner in Brinktown, Maries County, Missouri.


      She was one of nine surviving children who grew up on the family farm in Brinktown, MO.


      In 1942 at the age of 15, Rita moved to St. Louis to help support her family during World War II. She worked at St. Anthony’s Hospital in the Pediatric Department for three years and later Anheuser Busch Bottling Plant sealing beer boxes for three years. While at St. Anthony’s Hospital, Rita learned she was related to the young patient named Johanna Rakers Heimann through their maternal grandmothers, who were sisters, Frances Catherine, nee Wieberg, Lischwe and Maria Anna “Jenny” Wieberg Hellman.  Later, Johanna Rakers’ family invited Rita to a family wedding, and this wedding is where she met her future husband, Marcellus.


      Rita married Marcellus Bernard Poettker on October 4, 1949, at Guardian Angels Church in Brinktown, Missouri, and he preceded her in death on December 29, 2009.  They had been married for sixty years.


      Rita was a full-time mother, homemaker, and gardener. For a few years her parents lived with her family, giving Lois, Michael, and Mary the opportunity to get better acquainted with their Missouri grandparents. After her parents died, she and Marcellus became foster parents.  They did this for sixteen years and fostered fifty-five children. She told the kids, “Every day is a new day.”  What happened the day before would not be held against them.


      Rita was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Francis of Assisi Church for seventy-five years and had the distinction of being the third oldest parishioner. She spent many hours watching the mass on EWTN and praying the rosary. St. Anthony, Patron of Lost Items, was her favorite saint.  She was also a member of the Home Extension for many years.


      Rita enjoyed gardening, propagating roses, cooking, baking, new recipes, reading, music, and playing cards. She justified the purchase of a new cookbook by saying, “If you find just one keeper recipe, the cookbook paid for itself.”  Most of all, she loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren.


      Rita’s secret to a happy life was to think positive 1.) You’ve got to do the best you can with what you’ve got. 2.) I’m going to think positive until I know different. 3.) If it’s not a good day, I’ll make it a good day.


      She was the heart and soul of her family, and she will be dearly missed. Rita is survived by three loving children, Lois Theresa (Richard) Brandmeyer of Aviston, Michael Theodore (Marjorie) Poettker of Aviston, and Mary Jean (DeLaine) Herl of Augusta, Missouri; Four loving grandchildren, Melissa Ann Tinsman, Carl Michael Poettker (Fiancée Annie Kathleen Grossmann), Karen Elizabeth (Curt Allen) Jansen, and Eric Matthew (Jennifer “Jen” Marie) Poettker; six loving great grandchildren, Samantha Ann Jansen, Alyssa Marie Jansen, Penelope Joy (Polly) Poettker, Marcellus William (Mac) Poettker, Charlie Lucas Poettker, Wren Harper Poettker; two sisters, Sr. Monica Marie Kleffner, C.S.J., of St. Louis, Missouri, who was christened Veronica Josephine Kleffner and Bernadine Emma Hughes of Oklahoma City, OK; four sisters-in-law, Martha Katherine Kleffner of Waterloo, Lillian Elizabeth Strube of Belleville, Jane Frances Kampwerth of Breese, Mary Ann Poettker, of Tallahassee; numerous nieces and nephews; step-grandson, Ricky Lawrence Lavin; four step-great grandchildren, Zac Allyn Lavin, Maddison Taylor Lavin, Chyanne Ashlynn Franklin Lavin, Jakub Gary Franklin Lavin; and one step-great-great-grandchild, Luka Onyx Lavin.


      In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a daughter, Jean Marie Poettker; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Gerhard Henry and Bertha Franzisca, nee Woltering, Poettker; siblings, Alphonse Jacob Kleffner, Joseph John Kleffner, Norbert Joseph Kleffner and his wife, Irene, Frances Marie Wuebbels and her husband, Al, Lambert Theodore Kleffner and his wife, Generose, Henry Joseph Kleffner and his wife, Bonita, Liborious Bernard Kleffner, Edwin Theodore Kleffner, and Monica Catherine Kleffner; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Gene Edward Hughes, Lorena Louise Rolves and her husband, Ervin Otto Rolves, Adelphia “Del” Angelina Reilmann and her husband, Romanus “Bud” Reilmann, Ralph Gerhard Poettker and his wife, Pauline Poettker Gerling, Vic Gerling, Ann Margaret Stanley and her husband, William Stanley, James Henry Poettker, Robert William Poettker, Lucille Romilda Krebs and her husband, Elmer Peter Krebs, Charles “Charlie” Andrew Strube, Jr., Clara Mae Thole and her husband, Theodore “Ted”, Leroy Kampwerth, David Hensley, and nieces and nephews.


      The family of Rita is beyond blessed for the caring and compassionate employees of Breese Nursing Home, Aviston Countryside Manor, and Heartland Hospice for their care of Rita.


      Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Aviston, Illinois. Interment will be immediately following the Mass at St. Francis Cemetery, followed by a Celebration of Life at Aviston American Legion, Aviston, Illinois.


      In lieu of flowers, plants, and other gifts, contributions in memory of Rita Poettker are suggested to Heartland Hospice, St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry (Germantown), or donor’s charity of choice and will be received at the Mass or by mail, Moss Funeral Home, 535 N. 5th St. Breese, IL 62230, who is serving the family.

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