Cover photo for Rita Marie Sokolowski's Obituary
Rita Marie Sokolowski Profile Photo
1933 Rita M. Sokolowski 2023

Rita Marie Sokolowski

April 30, 1933 — November 11, 2023

Vicksburg, MI

Rita Marie Sokolowski, a woman of elegance, grace, and devotion, passed away on November 11, 2023, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born on April 30, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, Rita lived a life filled with meaningful work, cherished relationships, and unwavering faith.

Rita was born to John and Mary Grzegorczyk on the south side of Chicago. Rita spent her formative years attending St. John God School from grades 1 to 8. She maintained a close bond with her older brother and younger sister whom she loved dearly. During her youth, she also contributed to her family's livelihood by working at their parents' store.

Rita graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in 1950. She left a lasting impact as the captain of the high school yearbook. Her involvement extended to the realm of arts, where she showcased her musical talent as the first chair trumpeter in the high school band. Rita's love for performing arts also led her to partake in numerous high school musicals and plays. She adored her time in high school, exuding a fun-loving spirit and creating memories surrounded by many friends.

After her formative years at Our Lady of Lourdes, Rita worked diligently at the Sherman House Hotel. Here, she was crowned as the Queen of Hotels by Governor Stratton. Her dedication to her work did not go unnoticed as she earned a scholarship for Hotel Management. As the public relations representative for various hotel conventions, Rita had the opportunity to meet esteemed dignitaries and celebrities. 

After her time at the Sherman House Hotel, Rita worked for the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. Later in life, she followed in her father's footsteps by delving into the banking industry. For 23 years, Rita served as a dedicated teller at 1st National Bank in Vicksburg.

At the age of 17, Rita's life took a romantic turn when she met Anthony, (whom she lovingly referred to as Tony) her future husband, at a New Year's Eve party. Their connection was immediate, and that night, they shared a memorable dance to the enchanting notes of the Tennessee Waltz. Little did Rita know, this dance would become a sentimental part of their love story, as the same melody later graced their wedding day. 

As their relationship blossomed, Rita eagerly anticipated a proposal from Tony. He gifted Rita a delicate crystal rosary in February and a month later, he proposed. On June 4, 1955, Rita and Tony exchanged vows, embarking on a journey that spanned nearly six decades. Together they nurtured their Polish heritage and cherished their Catholic faith. From their union came four beautiful children and nine grandchildren whose presence brought Rita immeasurable joy.

In 1969, Rita and Tony relocated from Chicago to a farm outside of Vicksburg near Fulton. This embarking on a new chapter was enriched by nature's beauty and the warmth of a close-knit community. Rita found solace and happiness in spending quality time with her family; their love was the foundation that sustained her throughout life's ups and downs.

Rita possessed a deep-rooted devotion to her Catholic faith and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her unwavering belief in the power of prayer and the strength of her Catholic heritage served as guiding lights throughout her life. Rita's connection with her faith was further strengthened by her active involvement at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Vicksburg for 54 years. She passionately participated in the church choir as a talented soprano, performing many solos and her longtime favorite, Ave Maria.

Rita's love for fashion was evident throughout her life. By expressing herself through style and elegance, she earned herself the title of a fashionista. Her shoes were always immaculate and she always had jewelry to match every outfit. Rita was also an avid reader and learner, mastering Latin and was fluent in Polish.

Rita Marie Sokolowski will be deeply missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing her. Her elegance, grace, and unwavering faith serve as an inspiration to embrace life fully and cherish the relationships that bring us joy. Though she is no longer physically present, her spirit lives on through the memories she curated, the love she shared, and the impact she made.

As we bid farewell to a remarkable woman, let us celebrate the vibrant tapestry of Rita's life. May her soul find eternal peace, and may her memory forever be a blessing to all whose lives she touched.

Rita Sokolowski, of Vicksburg passed away on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at the age of 90. She is survived by her four children: Michael (Cathleen), Mark (Denise), John (Stacie) Sokolowski and Lisa Sokolowski, nine grandchildren: Matthew, Emily, Christy, Meghan, Kellie, Sherry, Ryan, Jenna and Brady; sister: Mary Jane (Tony) Gradle; her sister-in-laws: Irene Grzegorcyzk, Jean and Dianne Sokolowski, as well as many nieces and nephews. 

Rita was preceded in death by her husband Anthony in 2014; and her brother, John Grzegorczyk; brother-in-laws: Richard Sokolowski, Ronald Sokolowski, Daniel Sokolowski, and special cousin Father Edward Krason. 

The family will receive friends on Thursday from 4pm until 6:30pm at the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, 409 South Main Street. A rosary will begin on Thursday at 6:30pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday at 11am at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. The family will also be greeting friends at the church one hour prior to the service. 

The Sokolowski family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff of Rose Arbor Hospice Facility for all of their support and the loving care that they provided.

While at www.amsfuneralhomes.com please take time to sign Rita’s guestbook and/or share a story with her family. Memorial donations may be made to St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church and/or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

The Sokolowski family is being cared for by the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home, 409 South Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097 (269) 649-1697.

 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rita Marie Sokolowski, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, November 16, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home and Cremation Society, Vicksburg

409 South Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home and Cremation Society, Vicksburg

409 South Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Friday, November 17, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church

5855 East W Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Friday, November 17, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church

5855 East W Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

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