Rita Gehred Botkin
Dec. 27, 1931 – Jan. 24, 2014
Rita Ingrassia Gehred Botkin, 82, died peacefully Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Albuquerque, surrounded by loving family.
She was born in Rockford on Dec. 27, 1931, the middle child of Rose Drago Ingrassia and Anthony Salvatore Ingrassia. She graduated from Rockford High School at age 16, and went on to graduate with honors from Beloit College with a B.A. degree in English.
Rita taught English in Rockford until marrying Thomas Allen Gehred on June 15, 1955, and settling in southeastern Wisconsin. Raising their nine children became her life’s work and joy. As an empty nester, Rita resumed teaching as a substitute in Waukesha County schools, raising money to take worldwide adventures. Rita eventually made it to all the continents save Antarctica, relishing each experience.
After the death of Tom on Oct. 12, 1993, Rita moved to the southwest, settling in Albuquerque in the Sandia foothills. She married Ronald “Bo” Botkin on Aug. 7, 2001, sharing a love of sports and travel. Rita was a founding member of the Wandering Star Camping Group. She was also a member of the Happy Hoofers Hiking Club and Bear Canyon Senior Center. She loved the arts, literary short stories, opera, nature and lifelong learning opportunities. She had a deep faith and felt at home at First Unitarian Church.
Rita is survived by her husband, Bo; sister, Camille Kiegel; her sons, Paul (Patti) Gehred, John (Ann) Gehred and Robert (Angie) Gehred; her daughters, Anne (Rick) Schultz, Clare (Marco) Matranga, Elizabeth Gehred and Meg (Dean) Hoornaert; as well as daughters-in-law Stacey (Taugher) Gehred and Larisa (Pyskir) Gehred. Rita has four daughters by marriage, Caron (André) Wegener, Sharon Botkin, Kristin (Derek) Coffey and Heather (Rich) Breeden. She is survived by 22 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, as well as eight step-grandchildren, four step-great-grandchildren, and many extended family and friends that were dear to her.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Anthony; her first husband; as well as her sons, Mike and Jim Gehred.
There will be two services honoring Rita’s life. The first will be held Thursday, Jan. 30, at 5 pm in Albuquerque. The second will be held May 19 in Waukesha. Arrangements pending.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made in her name to Doctors Without Borders, www.doctorswithoutborders.org, or the American Cancer Society, www.americancancersociety.org.