On July 28, 2010, Rita Wirak went to sleep holding the hands of her family, whom she dearly loved. She woke up in heaven to see Joe, her best friend and husband.
Rita Unverzagt was born on July 31, 1923. She grew up on a farm in Whitehall. After high school, she moved to Butte and graduated as a registered nurse from St. James School of Nursing. While she was in school, her lifetime sweetheart, Joe Wirak, was an Air Force pilot. One day, he “rerouted” his military plane to stop in Butte to propose to Rita. He was met by the nursing students who bombarded him with hundreds of paper airplanes and thus began a wonderful marriage that lasted 61 years.
Rita and Joe spent many happy years in Ekalaka raising children, making lifelong friends and enjoying rural life. They loved to picnic at the Medicine Rocks, square dance and attend every school sporting event.
Joe’s career took the family to Great Falls where they made their home for over 30 years. Rita loved Mass at the Holy Family Church, evening drives by the river, breakfast at the Senior Center and dancing at the Elks Club. Her life was filled with wonderful friends and memories.
Rita spent many years working at hospitals, giving compassionate care to countless patients, who even years later, thanked her for her amazing care. This continued throughout her life, including the time she spent living at Aspen Gardens Assisted Living Facility where she regularly made her “rounds” to visit all the residents.
Rita left a great legacy with her family who share her compassion for people and her love for God.
Rita is survived by her four children, Rich (Kass) Wirak, Dan (Jan) Wirak, Jenny (Ed) Kelly and Georgie (Charlie) Rehbein, all of Helena. Rita also is survived by 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Rita always held close to her strong Catholic faith. We know she is now a partner in prayer as she celebrates with Jesus. We thank you, Mom, for reminding us to have gratitude always, in all things. A private family service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the care of Retz Funeral Home in Helena.