On Thursday December 1, 2022, Rita Jo Braden age 65, won her fight with cancer and went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She was born in Clay Center, Kansas on February 25, 1957 to Dale and Anna Mae (Avery) Newell. She attended Wakefield Schools and graduated Valedictorian in 1975. She then attended Manhattan Area Technical College and subsequently began working in the Animal Science Department at Kansas State University. After moving back to Wakefield, she was employed at the ASCS office in Clay Center. Rita Jo then worked for and eventually owned Living Stories Inc., shipping Child Evangelization Materials worldwide. She later served as the Wakefield Public Library Director for nearly 20 years. As an avid reader this was a vocation she was well suited for and thoroughly enjoyed.
On September 24, 1977, Rita Jo was united in marriage to her high school sweetheart Ladd Braden. The arrival of Steven Dale completed their family in January 1984.
Rita Jo’s deep faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was the guiding influence in her life. She was a member of Milford Church, serving many years as a member of the board and as pianist. Over the last ten years, Rita Jo’s life was greatly blessed and she reaped rich spiritual growth, inspiration, and joy from fellowship with the members of her women’s Bible study group.
Rita Jo developed a growing passion for quilting in recent years. She greatly enjoyed creating and gifting her beautiful creations to family, friends, and even those she never met. Her quilts celebrated new lives and provided warmth and comfort to those in need.
Also central in Rita Jo and Ladd’s life, has been the nurturing and Godly upbringing of their son Steven Dale, who has been a source of great joy, inspiration, and entertainment to family, friends, and a wide circle of acquaintances.
Rita Jo was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband Ladd and son Steven Dale, brother Marc Newell of Wakefield, sister Shan (Marcia) and husband Denny Gfeller of rural Junction City, and sister Teresa K. Newell of Fargo, ND. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Rita Jo’s life will be held on Friday, December 9, 2022 at 10:30AM at the Wakefield Methodist Church.
Visitation will also be held at the Wakefield Methodist Church from 4:00PM to 7:00PM on Thursday, December 8, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, Rita Jo’s wishes were that memorials be made to The Wakefield Museum and Milford Church and may be sent c/o the Neill-Schwensen-Rook Funeral Home.
In the midst of Rita Jo’s battle, it became her heart’s desire to share her testimony and be a witness of the healing grace of God to those battling cancer and other afflictions. In honor and support of her wishes, the family would also like to develop a fund to provide the book “Healed of Cancer” by Dodie Osteen, which was a source of great comfort and encouragement to Rita Jo. Memorial funds may also be directed to support this mission.