R ita Ann Schuster, 86, of Morrill died Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at the Sabetha Manor. She was born on June 3, 1927 in Kansas City, Kansas the third of seven children born to Henry Hurla and Nona (McClain) Hurla. She attended parochial schools until leaving high school to assist her mother at home and the family through employment. From an early age, Rita enjoyed being outdoors and caring for animals. Through her employment she met her future husband, Leland G. Schuster. The couple married on June 25, 1947 and had seven children. They lived on a small acreage in Muncie, Kansas before purchasing and moving to a farm near Meriden, Kansas where they farmed until the construction of the Perry Dam. Early in the couple’s farming years they had a small dairy, and then Leland and Rita farmed, raised cattle and swine. Rita marketed her chicken eggs and cream in Topeka as well as on the farm. Through eminent domain, the couple had to relocate the farming operation. In 1965, they purchased a farm near Morrill, Kansas where Rita remained until entering assisted living at Cobble Stone Court in May of 2012. Rita continued her interest and enjoyment of animals and being outdoors throughout her years on the farm. She often built sheds and pens for her animals and raised many different domestic animals including chickens, rabbits, ducks, calves, sheep and goats. She also worked with her daughter, Marcia, in these operations as well as with a kennel. She gardened for many years. Rita always enjoyed having the companionship of dogs. Her dog, Shasta, was her constant companion for the last 8 years. She accompanied Rita to Cobble Stone Court and resided with her there until a recent fall and increased health care needs lead to her move to the Sabetha Manor following a brief hospital stay.
Rita is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Leland G. Schuster on May 13, 1993 in farm accident; four siblings, Bernadine Hirth, LaVeta McQuade, Wanda Harris and Joan Johnson; one grandchild and one great grandchild. She is survived by her children, Cecilia Swatton of Red Bank, New Jersey, Gerald (Jerry) Schuster of Hiawatha, Kansas, Theresa Baumgartner of Hiawatha, Kansas, David Schuster of Sabetha, Arnald Schuster of Thailand, Marcia Fessler of Salisbury, Missouri and Harland Schuster of Morrill, Kansas; two siblings, Jerome Hurla of McLouth, Kansas and Barbara Boots of Prairie Village, Kansas and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sabetha. A parish rosary will be recited on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sabetha with visitation to follow. The interment will be made in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Holton, Kansas. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital sent in care of Popkess Mortuary in Sabetha.