Rita G. Gruber

Funeral services for Rita Gruber, 71, Eudora, Kan., will be held 2:00 p.m., on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Eudora. Burial will follow at Holy Family Catholic Cemetery in Eudora.

Rita passed away Thursday, January 16, 2020, at KU Med Center due to complications from a brain aneurysm sustained at her home on Tuesday.

Rita was born on September 15, 1948, in Pavia, Iloilo, Philippines, the daughter of Monico H Guarnes and Saturnina H Jalandoni. Rita immigrated to the United States and became a U.S. Citizen.

Rita retired from Lawrence Memorial Hospital after 25 years, but continued her volunteer work for the hospital in addition to working at the De Soto McDonald’s. Rita was commonly known as the “Energizer Bunny” with her regular customers in De Soto, full of life and always keeping busy. Rita welcomed hospital patients and visitors, McDonald’s customers with the biggest smile and warm welcome. She is known for always lending a helping hand the best way she knew. This included helping her family in the Philippines, especially her niece Tess Gianan’s education. Rita was a sponsor of two children in need out of the country who wrote to her regularly expressing their gratitude.

Rita loved her two dogs, Blackie and Marley, gardening and travelling. The trip she valued the most was her pilgrimage to the Vatican with her closest friend, Marjorie Tirol- Plantz, where they met the Pope.

Rita attended Holy Family Catholic Church in Eudora and she was actively involved with church members.

Survivors include five siblings, Luz Joaquin, Aurea Guarnes, Carlito Guarnes, Evelina Jalandoni and Lorna Plata, as well as three step-children, Mark, John Jr., and Margaret. She is also survived by five grandchildren and 21 nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and husband, John Gruber, who died on December 18, 2011.

The family will greet friends on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, from 5:00 -7:00 p.m., at Warren-McElwain Mortuary – Eudora Chapel, with a Rosary Recitation starting at 5:00 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Holy Family Catholic Church in Eudora and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.


5 Condolences

  1. Andrea L Groenhagen on January 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    My Eulogy ( A memorial Tribute In Loving Memory 1/28/2020)
    My name is Andrea Groenhagen. We may may not be blood related to Rita but we call her Nanay or Ate (Nanay means mother and Ate means sister)and that’s because she is like a mother or sister to us. She is family.

    Nanay Rita came to the US during the 80’s and lived in Chicago until she met the love of her life John and brought her here to Kansas. John passed away in 2011 and at the time of his passing they were married for 20 years. John’s nickname for his wife was Candy. A name that suited her well because of her sweetness and thoughtful personality. She did not have children of her own but she had us and her furbabies! There was Lizzy then Blackie and Marly. They are spoiled for sure.

    We all have different memories of Rita but one thing they all have in common is the way she loved and lived for her family and community.

    She’s been with her Mc Donald’s family since1993 and did not have any intention of retiring from that work if you call it work. She was very fond of the ‘regulars.’ I hear that she would bring donuts and buy them coffee especially after having good luck and winnings after a visit to the casino. Which by the way, I tell you she seemed to have always hit the jackpot the few times she went to play the slot machines. We have witnessed this firsthand.

    Then she also had her LMH family where she worked for 25 years but continued to be a volunteer helped patients and the staff the Rita’s way, always full of life and enthusiasm. As nurses and doctors would described her ‘a very sweet lady.’

    Rita was not just all work, she knew how to play as well. She loved shopping. Red was her favorite, her bags, her purses her shoes, her dresses, her carves and oh! hats like Queen Elizabeth. She loved wearing red. She loved gardening and her love of the color red showed as well for the flowers she planted red roses, red impatiens, red zinnias, red gladiolas and red geraniums.

    She loved to travel. To name a few of the places she visited recently mostly with Marjorie and Brian and Malyn: There’s the Vatican City (where they met the pope), the 7 day US road trip across New Mexico, South Carolina and South Dakota, the Alaska trip (where she complained of the cold cold weather but enjoyed seeing the glaciers and whale watching with Marjorie), Hawaii, and Branson. She did go back and visited Chicago with them and she would point at the places where she and John went and reminisced.

    She had the most amazing optimism and tenacity that every single person who ever came into contact with her could feel while in her presence.

    She was a mentor, friend and a mother to all of us. She had a way of making each one of us feel like we were her favorite.

    We are so privileged to have known such an amazing, strong very resilient woman whose faith is unwavering, a religious and devout catholic.

    We will always remember her as a nurturer. Her last nurturing moment was on Marjorie’s bday. She that evening brought flowers and food. I can’t helped but laugh as Marjorie and Malyn recalled of the moment where she also brought yellow balloons and was intent in getting them inflated with her own breath! She did get all three balloons filled with air. This determination in anything she did, this sense of humor were just a few of her qualities that we will always carry with us and hope that we can display those same characteristics.

    We wish everyone could be so lucky to have someone like you once in their lifetime. We are so grateful for the time we had and believe that the Angels are rejoicing because one of their own has rejoined them.

    Let me close with a quote from Flavia Weedn”.
    ““Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

    A piece by Marjorie and Malyn that best describes Rita:

    “She crossed generations and related with everyone from the young ones, teen agers and the golden agers. To her, ethnicity was not a deterrent with those friendships, she had friends from different walks of life Filipinos, Latinos, Vietnamese, Caucasians, African Americans, Native Americans to name a few.” She made sure that no one was excluded or left behind.”

    By so saying we bid you farewell and good night to your physical body. As we know that you will for-ever be in spirit.

    Till we meet again beautiful soul rest in Peace.

  2. Michael Dobski on January 28, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    I was first introduced to Rita when we reopened the McDonald’s in De Soto back in 2013, Gary brought her to my attention telling me that she used to make biscuits and work in the grill area at De Soto when we reopen the store in 1991. We knew that she was volunteering at LMH hospital, but may be interested in working part time at the restaurant, she always love to talk to customers in Lobby. Rita would get to know more about their family and their kids, treating their kids like her own whenever they would come in the restaurant. Whenever my son Dominic would come in the store with my Wife Katie, she would always go get Dominic a bib when he was 1-2 yrs old, wipe his face off from the mess he made and offered to go get his lunch at the counter.

    Rita took the money that she earned from McDonald’s and donated it back to her church in Eudora, she was a very giving lady and cared more about others than worrying about herself most of the time. She also volunteered at the hospital at Lawrence Memorial for about 25 years of volunteering her time week to week going back at least once a year or twice a week to help out there with Cleaning. I was surprised to find out that Rita started cleaning houses again after she was working for us part time working on Friday and Saturday in the mornings. She also cleaned up to 10 houses either once a week or once every two weeks for various clients throughout De Soto Eudora and Overland Park.

    I do remember one time in the lobby after a big night at the casino where she won $2000, so she offered to buy coffee for all the customers in the lobby at the Desoto store. She kept tally marks on a sheet up front on the counter. making sure I knew that she would pay for all of their coffee. Rita was a very lucky lady at the casino and all of us shared in the LUCK OF JUST KNOWING HER by the chance to meet her and engage in conversation with her ON A daily basis.

    I could also count on Rita to help us out with all the inspections from McDonald’s at various times throughout the year in fact she’s come to the Bonner Springs, Desoto, Shawnee locations to work the lobby on those days and help with table service.

    I got the opportunity to learn from Marc. That Rita’s husband, John of many years, loved to garden and Plant Flowers. My Dad, Tom Dobski started planting flowers in our restaurants a long time ago, and Rita would do her best to help keep them looking great on a daily basis. She even brought her own flowers to fill a Bare Planter at the store in Front, and offered to weed them out on a weekly basis.

  3. Sue Carpenter on January 29, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    I did not know Rita personally, but rather her beautiful smile and warm heart. She volunteered her time, giving her heart to any and everything she did. Rest in peace and with my sincere sympathy to all her family and friends. Lots of hugs and love to everyone. God’s blessings and our Lords love.

  4. Sherry Wealthall on January 30, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Rita, you will be missed by many. Enjoyed working with you at LMH. Your work here on earth is done, rest easy my friend.

  5. Chris Thomas on July 30, 2020 at 10:03 am

    I also knew Rita from DeSot McDonalds…. We had a running joke that we recited every time she saw me. She would say “You’re late”. My part was to laugh and it was always funny. Rita was so kind and thoughtful. Everyone sure does miss her. May God bless her soul with true light and feed her the bread of heaven.

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