LOSTANT — Mary “Rita” (Ehrnthaller) Kunkel, 91, of Lostant died peacefully at home surrounded by family at 1:11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. She was born May 18, 1926, to the late Frank and Mary Ehrnthaller of Toluca.
She attended St. Ann’s Grade School and Toluca Community High School, receiving the Citizenship Award at graduation.
Rita married Aloysius John Kunkel of Granville on April 22, 1950, in Toluca. She was a loving and devoted mother to John (Linda), George (Rochelle), Thomas (Laurel), Andrew (Debbie), Rosemary (James) Wall, Virginia (Steve) Jesiolowski, Stephen (Mary), Charles (Laurie), Paul (Debbie), Christina (Timothy) Corcoran, Daniel (Maria), William, Elizabeth (Herman) Emmerling and Dennis (Amy).
She worked as a homemaker her entire life, using skills she learned from 4-H and jobs during and after high school, to sew her own wedding dress (as well as the dresses for the entire wedding party), process meat and vegetables, mend clothing and manage a large farm family. When her children got married, she made each one a patchwork quilt, which represented her labor of love.
Rita served many years as president of the Altar and Rosary Society and as sacristan at the Immaculate Conception Church in Mt. Palatine, and was a member of Legion Auxiliary. In 1987, as Dennis, her youngest and last family member received his high school diploma from St. Bede Academy; she also received an honorary diploma so every member of the family, including her husband, now has a St. Bede diploma. In 1993, Pope John Paul II granted her the August Cross medal “for distinguished works and conspicuous devotion” to the Pontiff and Church.
She loved to use her iPad to “Facetime” family members, was very passionate about preserving the family’s ancestry records, and made a trip to Germany to reconnect with family there.
She is survived by 12 children, 33 grandchildren (15 of which are married), 24 great-grandchildren, six stepgrandchildren (four of which are married) and 18 stepgreat-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by two brothers, Raymond and Joseph; two sisters, Cecelia and Kathleen; two children, William and Paul; and a great-grandchild, Max Imilian Bowser.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at St. Ann’s Church in Toluca with the Franciscan Friars officiating. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Mt. Palatine.
Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, at St. John the Baptist Church in Lostant with recital of the rosary at 2:45 p.m. Additional visitation will be from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Ann’s Church in Toluca.
Her grandchildren will serve as pallbearers.
Memorials may be directed to St. Bede Academy, St. John the Baptist Church of Lostant, The Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, Iowa, or Horizon House.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Mueller Funeral Home in Lostant. The online guestbook may be viewed and memories shared at www.MuellerFH.com.