Rita was born on July 26, 1931, the daughter of Joseph and Josephine (Cvengros) Lesco. She was the only child but spent her childhood surrounded by many loving aunts and uncles.
She attended Norrie Elementary School in Ironwood and graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1949. She then attended Gogebic Community College majoring in business. Following college, she lived and worked briefly in Duluth, Minnesota.
On May 2, 1953, Rita married the love of her life, John "Jack" James Searle Jr. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ironwood. They celebrated 65 years of marriage prior to Jack's passing in 2019.
Rita loved music and was a talented vocalist participating in high school and community college choral activities, and also singing with the Range Community Chorus. She was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, caring for her family and her home.
Rita and Jack purchased the Royal Bakery at its Cloverland Drive location in 1977, and she worked there with him until their retirement in 1990.
Rita and Jack had numerous good friends with whom they shared many fun times. They also enjoyed their annual winter trips to Siesta Key, Florida, and summer weekends at their Echo Lake cottage in Mercer.
Rita is survived by her daughters, Jane (Gary) Gruenke and Barbara Frisk (Gerry Gripper); grandchildren, Beth (Bryce) Haley, Kimberly Carlson, J. T. Federico (fiancée, Marja Luoma), and Laura Federico; great-grandchildren, Ella and Ruby Haley; sister-in-law, Rose Searle; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, Sept. 17, at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood at 11 a.m. with Fr. Binu Joseph officiating, preceded by a visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass.
Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Ironwood.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood.
The family would like to express their deepest gratitude for the exceptional care and kindness was given to Rita by the staff at the Villa Maria Health and Rehabilitation Center.
The family has chosen McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood to honor Rita's legacy of life. You can leave a condolence or a tribute at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.