Rita Marie Gogel was surrounded by love as she entered into eternal rest Sunday, May 14, at 5:44 a.m. at the home of her daughter.

Rita was born Aug. 21, 1933, in St. Meinrad, Ind., to Johannes and Agnes Seckinger. Rita was a first born generation American, as her parents were German immigrants.

She married James L. Gogel Feb. 6, 1951, at St Meinrad Archabbey Church. He preceded her in death on June 10, 2004. Rita’s life was devoted to her faith and family. She was a member of Mary Help of Christians Church, St. Francis of Assisi Parish. She owned and operated a dairy farm with her husband and was a homemaker raising 12 children. A skilled cook, baker, seamstress and quilter, Rita was also very involved in caring for the cattle and chickens, baling hay, and even painting the barn roof. She was active in canning, butchering and gardening to provide for her family.

Rita made hundreds of quilts and baby quilts, giving them to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She continued quilting for Mariah Hill Church and for the Santa Claus Methodist Church until her death. Rita was a very loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, who also loved playing cards and games with her children and grandchildren.

Over the years, Rita worked as a Tupperware representative and worked the voting polls, as well as worked at the St Meinrad Archabbey for over 25 years in the Gift Shop and kitchen. In her later years, Rita was very active at the YMCA, attending Morning Energizer classes and Rock Steady Boxing sessions up until her very recent diagnosis. In the 1970s, an era when hospitals relied on local donations, Rita was instrumental in organizing a local blood registry. Inspired by the lack of blood available, she spent countless hours contacting people and collecting and updating data in order to have a resource when blood was needed for a surgery or emergency.

Rita’s strength and perseverance were an inspiration to many. She had to leave school at an early age in order to help support her family. She always wanted to go back to school and earn her high school diploma. At the age of 88, Rita received her diploma. Her daughters accompanied her to Michigan City, Ind., to attend the Indiana Association for Adult Education Conference and receive the “Indiana Learner of the Year” award. Rita provided a commencement address at her graduation and spoke at the awards ceremony.

Rita is survived by eleven children, sons, James A. (Diana) Gogel of Huntingburg, George (Marlow) Gogel of Virginia Beach, Va., Frank (Katy) Gogel of Ferdinand, Tom Gogel of Pine Mountain, Ga., Darin Gogel of Leopold, Larry (Kami) Gogel of Dale; daughters, Martha (Paul) Wahl and Jennifer (Dean) Daunhauer of Ferdinand, Laura (Mike Eckstein) Klem and Sally (Steve) Fischer of Jasper, Nancy (Jeff) Phillips of Gentryville. Rita has 44 grandchildren and 63 great-grandchildren with another two on the way, and one great-great-grandchild. Rita is also survived by her sister, Agnes Gogel of Iowa; sisters in law, Rosemary Seckinger and Loretta Seckinger; and brother in law, Andrew (Jack) Gogel.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband, James; daughter, Elizabeth; brothers, John, Joe, Leo and Ed Seckinger; as well as her parents. Funeral services were Friday, May 18, at Mary Help of Christians Church in Mariah Hill at 11 a.m. Burial followed in the church cemetery. Visitation was Thursday and Friday at Becher Funeral Home in Ferdinand. In lieu of flowers and gifts, memorial contributions may be made to YMCA Rock Steady Boxing or to your favorite charity.