Rita Freund was a wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandma, great-grandma and friend when she left this world to be with her Lord on Tuesday June 27th, 2006. She was surrounded by the love of her large family and circle of friends both near and far.
Rita was born 87 years ago on March 29th, 1919 in Hannibal, Missouri. Her parents Herman and Katheryn Mueller of Quincy, Illinois brought the family to Lewistown, MT when Rita was a little girl. They later moved to Billings, MT where Rita would spend the rest of her long life.
As a young woman Rita loved to roller-skate and it was there she met the love of her life, Clyde S. Freund of Laurel, MT. She became his wife on August 14, 1942 and a month later he was shipped out to serve in World War II. When Clyde returned from the war they settled into family life together and over the next 15 years had 7 children: 2 boys, Ronald and Richard, and five girls, including two sets of twins, Susan and Sharon, Jayne and Judy, and Barbara.
Rita’s caring heart led her to become a registered nurse and she graduated from the St. Vincent School of Nursing in 1940. She went to work for St. Vincent Hospital part time so she could also raise her growing family and finally retired as Evening Supervisor in 1982.
In September 1979, she lost her husband Clyde to cancer. She had cared for him for a year prior to his death in their home at 444 Clark Ave where they lived for 28 years.
Rita and Clyde had a rich life, spending much time with family on fishing trips to Cooney Dam and the Boulder River. The happiest memory was of the week the whole family spent camping on the Boulder River when the young twins were very small. Later on, there were many fishing and hunting trips, but the week on the Boulder was always a favorite remembrance.
Rita loved reading and always had a book in progress. She was an avid Bingo player often winning the pot. For many years she was a part of a pinochle card club and loved to play cards on Sunday afternoons with her family. She took up crocheting and made afghans and lap robes for the elderly until her arthritis and failing eyesight forced her to stop. She was a giver and helper to all who asked and loved being a servant through work with Catholic Daughters. She also loved serving as a Eucharistic Minister at Holy Rosary Church where she was a member since 1958. Rita’s dry wit and sense of humor came to be loved in a very special way in her later years and will be dearly missed.
Rita was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Clyde, two brothers, Richard Mueller and Joe Mueller, and a sister Pat Weber. She is survived by her brother Paul A “Mike” Mueller and wife Eunice, and seven children and their families who loved her: Ronald Freund and wife Mary, of Whispering Pines south of Big Timber, MT, Susan Freund of Billings, Sharon (Freund) Engelhardt and husband Roy, of Billings, Richard Freund and wife, Lynda, of Murphy, ill, Barbara Freund of Billings, Jayne (Freund) Christenot of Billings, Judy (Freund) Morgan and husband Gary, of Billings, and daughter-in-law Mary Freund of Basin, WY. She had 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 30th at Holy Rosary Church at 521 Custer Avenue, Billings, at 11:00 a.m. with internment following at Mountview Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the charity of your choice.