Rita Jo Zerbe, 64

Rita Jo Zerbe, age 64, of Schoolcraft, Mich., began her heavenly walk peacefully after a "beautiful fight" with ALS on Nov. 23, 2016. Although the fight was difficult, her last breath was pain-free surrounded by her immediate family; her greatest joy.

She was born to her earthly journey on March 13, 1952, in Muncie, daughter of the late Herbert Lowell and Ellen (Bidgood) Shroyer.

Rita resided in Schoolcraft, Mich., since 2005. Prior to moving to Schoolcraft she lived in Warsaw, for three years, Sturgis, Mich., from 1996-2002 and her early life was spent in Dunkirk, where she was a graduate of Dunkirk High School with the class of 1970. She furthered her education at Taylor University in Upland, where she received a bachelor’s degree in art.

On Aug. 19, 1972, she married Steven Zerbe at the Bethel Methodist Church in Dunkirk.

Rita was very artistically creative in nearly anything she did. She owned and operated from her home a full scale wedding planning business. She could personally take care of every detail of a wedding from making the dress to baking and decorating the cake. She was also an art teacher. Rita enjoyed teaching and wedding planning but her true passion was being the loving and dedicated wife, mother and grandmother she was. She and Steve were not just a happily married couple but a true team together serving nine churches in California, Michigan and Indiana.

She was a member of the Journey Church in Caledonia, Mich., and she enjoyed gardening, flowers, her art work and loved sharing her talents with her grandchildren that she so dearly cherished.

She is survived by her loving and dedicated husband of 44 years: Steve; two daughters: Allison (Ben) Davis of Battle Creek, Mich., and Erica (Jon) Allen of Caledonia, Mich.; five grandchildren: Brennan Davis, twins Sydney and Makenzie Allen, Micah and Emma Davis; step-mother: Carolyn Shroyer of Dunkirk; five sisters: Resa Robertson of Greencastle, Leslie (Tom) Forrest of Muncie, Joy (Bruce) Gregg of Ossian, Mary Kay (Mike) Sterret of Ossian, and Julie (George) Paulk of Arlington, Texas; four brothers: Lowell "Butch" (Pam) Shroyer of Indianapolis; Paul Huffman of Muncie; Chuck (Susan) Huffman of Dunkirk, and Stephen (Beth) Shroyer of Brownsburg, and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and special aunt: Carroll Shroyer.

Visitation was Sunday, Nov. 27, at the Radiant Life Church, 907 N. Nottawa St. in Sturgis, Mich. Funeral services celebrating and honoring the life of Rita Jo Zerbe were Sunday at the church followed by the serving of a meal and continued time of fellowship in the church's fellowship hall. Pastor Archie Nevins will officiate. A graveside service and burial was Monday, Nov. 28, at the Rankin Cemetery in Bunker Hill. A luncheon will follow the graveside service at the Loree Brethren Church on Strawtown Pike.

The Hackman Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, Mich., is honored to be entrusted with the arrangements.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Rita's memory consider the ALS Association, Gift Processing Center, PO Box 6051 Albert Lea, MI 56007 or the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22311 or the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, 448 N. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

The obituary is also at where personal messages of support may be left for the family.


Posted on 2016 Nov 29