Rita graduated from Taylorville High School, class of 1979. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1992, and Master of Business Administration from Fontbonne University in 1998. Rita was the Executive Director at Cedarhurst Assisted Living and Memory Care of Collinsville, IL, from 2014 to 2019. Prior to 2014, she worked in the healthcare industry for Pinckneyville Community Hospital, Perry County Health Department, and Sparta Community Hospital. For twelve years, she was a member of the management team and a Vice President for the communications and information technology company, CTS Technology Solutions in Sparta, IL. For two years, Rita worked for School Center, one of the first Content Management Systems for K-12 educational professionals.
She was a guest instructor and motivational speaker for business students at universities, colleges, high schools, and corporations, and an early organizer of the Randolph County Youth CEO program through the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship. Rita was active in church and often served as a youth mission leader. She enjoyed music, played the flute, piano, and organ. She liked being outdoors, traveling with her family, and decorating for the holidays with her husband, David.
Rita was preceded in death by a son, Hunter Crowder, in infancy; her maternal grandparents, Doyle and Stella, nee Ritter, Mulvaney; and her paternal grandparents, Ernest and Marguerite, nee Brunk, Ayers.
Surviving are her husband of 30 years, David Crowder, whom she married on May 26, 1990; a son, Elliott Alexander Crowder of Pensacola, FL; a daughter, Jolena Elizabeth Maria Crowder, of Freeburg, IL; her parents, Everett and Joyce, nee Mulvaney, Ayers of New Minden, IL; two sisters, Bonita Suzanne, nee Ayers, Davis of Taylorville, IL, and Anita, nee Ayers, (Ken) Henderlight of Knoxville, TN; a sister-in-law Gina Marie Williams of Percy, IL; two nieces, Brooke Davis and Ronna (Mike) Henniger; three nephews, Brandon (Leah) Davis, Blake (Stevi) Davis, and DonRay (Lori) Williams; and great-nieces, great-nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Taylorville High School Band Program, 815 Springfield Road, Taylorville, IL, 62568, Freeburg Community High School Band Program, 401 S. Monroe St., Freeburg, IL 62243, or to the St. Paul’s UCC Youth Mission Program, 7 North Belleville St, Freeburg, IL 62243. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Funeral: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private family memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Freeburg, IL, with Rev. Nic Showalter and Rev. Rick Mortimer officiating. The service will be livestreamed on the church’s Facebook page.
A celebration of Rita’s life for friends and the community will be held at a later date.