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. To her family, she was ever present, providing encouragement, inspiration, and love. Committed to the Church and the Blessed Mother, she was always true to her Catholic faith. 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 visitation and rosary will be held on Thursday afternoon, May 14 at Hennessey Funeral Home, followed by a private graveside service and burial at Holy Cross Cemetery on Friday, May 15. At a later date, when larger gatherings are allowed, we plan to have a celebration of life and mass in the Church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington, PO Box 2253, Spokane, WA, 99210. Please visit www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com to leave a message on Rita’s online guestbook.
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