On Sunday, April 26, 2020, Rita Louise Eckel, loving wife and mother of seven children, died at age 86. As she was throughout her entire life, she was surrounded by things that mattered to her most - family, faith, and love.
Born on June 21, 1933 in Boise, Idaho to Christopher and Faye (Osburn) Soran, she lived in many different places in her youth before settling in Spokane, WA. Here she met the love of her life, Leo Michael Eckel, to whom she was married 66 years and who survives her. Together they raised a family of seven children, including Ginger (Pace), Cindy (Perry), Andy, Bernie, Robbie (Holmberg), and Larry. Their son, Michael, preceded her in death. She also leaves behind many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved deeply.
There are no words to fully describe the void she leaves behind. We feel her loss so intensely and mourn so deeply, because we know we have lost the one person who did love us, and would love us, completely and forever, no matter what we have done or failed to do. To her family, she was ever present, providing encouragement, inspiration, and love. She was committed to her Catholic faith, as it sustained her throughout her life. Devoted to her husband, she supported him as he supported her and they were truly a team of one, inseparable from each other and deeply in love. Dedicated to her family, she placed no other priority above them, their success, and their happiness. She was a pioneer, the first woman in her family to graduate from college and she started multiple businesses, though always remained a teacher to students of multiple generations and to all who would listen. She was strong, loyal, and determined. She gave the best of herself, and all of herself, to the people she loved. She was our advocate, cheerleader, and friend. We will miss her terribly but her life and lessons will live on in our hearts forever.
Due to pandemic restrictions, a private rosary/visitation and graveside service will be held in Spokane, Washington on Friday, May 15. A mass and celebration of her life will also be held in Spokane at a later time.
Memorial contributions may be made to Madonna Towers, 4001 19th Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901.
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