Rita Merle Hurlburt’s life began on August 7, 1937, the daughter of Clifford Eugene DeWitt and V. Muriel Hobbs DeWitt. A sack of potatoes served as payment for the costs associated with her birth at the Susan B. Allen Hospital in El Dorado. She passed away on January 6, 2021 at the Wellsprings of Westmoreland Care Home, at the age of 83.
She attended the rural grade schools of Cole Creek and De Graff, KS. After graduating from El Dorado High School in 1955, she attended Butler Community College, Emporia State University and Hutchinson Community College. Later she obtained her accounting degree from McPherson College.
On December 30, 1956 she married George Troy Hurlburt in the First Christian Church of El Dorado. They enjoyed 62 years of marriage and family together before he preceded her in death on July 22, 2019.
Rita’s career included accounting jobs in El Dorado working for M.F. Litras, H.R. Block, Dr. Clayton, First Christian Church and Archie Leben Realty. She assisted George with car racing and the operation of Wichita International Raceway. After leaving the El Dorado area, she worked for Hedlund Electric, Country Woods and Cargill in McPherson, KS. She retired as the McPherson Cargill accountant after many years of service.
The Hurlburts lived for a year in Emporia and Wichita, Kansas. They had a home built in 1960 at 1410 Lowe St. in El Dorado and lived there until 1979. Rita enjoyed gardening and family life at their rural Galva, KS home for 30 years before returning to El Dorado in 2016.
Family involvement was important to her. She was a Girl Scout troop and day camp leader. Rita was a president and treasurer of the Jaycee Jaynes in El Dorado and 4-H member. Her hard working ethic was passed down from her long line of farming ancestors. She enjoyed reaching family history, sewing, gardening and travel to Colorado. Rita created the booklet for her 50th high school class reunion.
Rita’s greatest joy in life includes her surviving son George (Tonya) Hurlburt of Smithville, MO; daughter Marcia (Roger) Eaton of Manhattan; grandchildren Aubry James Eaton (Elizabeth) and Muriel Eaton ,Troy (Stephanie) Hill; great-grandchildren Revan Hill and Jasea Hill; and brother Jerry DeWitt (Sandy) of El Dorado.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Clifford and V. Muriel Hobbs DeWitt, and sister Donna Hamilton in 2015.
Cremation will occur and interment of ashes will be at a private graveside service at the Ridgeway Cemetery in De Graff, KS.
Memorial contributions in her name may be directed to Bradford Memorial Library in El Dorado.
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