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Rita Kiser

Obituary of Rita Marie Kiser

Rita Marie Kiser, 95 years young, passed away peacefully on October 1, 2020 at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Dan Space in Shippenville, where she lived for the past two years. Born Rita Maria Smerkar on April 4, 1925 to John and Amanda Smerkar, she married Frank Kiser on June 15, 1948 and lived most of her adult life in Clarion, where she raised her children and participated in a rich community life. Besides being a kind, supportive and devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Rita was best known as a compassionate, loving life-force to all who knew or needed her. She unselfishly welcomed Grandma Smerkar, Aunt Avy, Aunt Mard and Aunt Thelma into her home and tenderly cared for each during their final and challenging years of life. She never complained that it was too much, because being a caretaker truly was her calling, and embodied well her life-long devotion to Jesus and her Catholic faith. Throughout her life, Rita found much joy and fulfilment through her work with Immaculate Conception parish, serving many years as a youth catechism teacher and a Eucharistic Minister. She loved working with the youth and conversely, delivering communion to the elderly in local convalescent homes. It is hard to say how many Novenas Rita prayed in her lifetime, but suffice it to say that she quietly finished each day praying for those in need! Jokingly we called her Saint Rita, a moniker she quickly and humbly dismissed. For those who knew Rita best, she was the life of the party - always "a riot" - and fully blossomed when she was the center of attention entertaining us (almost nightly) with song and dance, jokes and laughter. For years, she took great delight and unending pleasure as a member of the local dance troupe "Naughty Knees", which performed for and entertained audiences all over the County. To Rita, family was everything. She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years Frank Kiser who passed away in May 2019, and by her parents and siblings Ray (Louise) Smerkar, Bob (Virginia) Smerkar, Thelma (Gus) Thomas, Mildred (George) Strickenberger, Betty (Lloyd) Miller, Ruth (Don) Morocco, Bill (Marilyn) Smerkar, and son-in-law Robert Nelson. She is survived by her children Sherry Nelson, Betsy Kiser (Skip Dyke), and Pam Space (Dan); grandchildren Rob Nelson (Cary), Mike Nelson (Rachel), Justin Space, David Space (Joy), and Brynn Renninger (Greg); ten great-grandchildren, Samantha and Alex Nelson, Tessa Nelson, Emerson Eustice and Jaxson Space, Addyson and Dylan Space, and Leona, Esme and Veda Renninger; a sister Doris Cherico and many nieces and nephews. Mama Rita will be missed by us all. Funeral Services for Rita will be private, with the Rev. Monty Sayers, pastor as celebrant. Entombment will follow at Cedarview Memorial Park in Strattanville, PA. A mass of Christian burial and celebration of life for Rita and her husband Frank will take place at a later date. Arrangements were entrusted to the Borland-Ensminger Funeral Home, Inc. in Leeper, Pa.
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Final Resting Place

Cedarview Memorial Park
1923 Fisher Road
Strattanville, Pennsylvania, United States