Rita B. Gunderson

November 24, 1926 – July 18, 2019
Rita passed away in Duncan with family members by her side. She was born in Cherry Creek, in the Alberni Valley, to Charles and Eva Chase, the sixth child in a family of eight.
Her husband Arnold, the love of her life since age fifteen, predeceased her in 1997. She is survived by four children, six grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, one great great grandson and two younger sisters.
Rita was intelligent and dedicated. As a young child she walked one and a half miles each way to elementary school. When the snow was deep the horses would be harnessed to the sleigh to get the kids to school.
Sports day was a five mile walk. She often won for her age group, the prize was a nickel which would buy her an ice cream cone. High school was a five and a half mile bike ride each way. At the end of grade 12 she was issued a certificate for attending twelve years of school and not missing a single day.
It was while riding her bike home from school that she met Arnold. He was in Port Alberni doing basic training and was assigned to a troop doing road repair.
After graduation, while waiting for Arnold to return from overseas, Rita worked in a bank. One of her duties was to transfer money by way of hand delivery. This required her to carry a handgun. She liked that responsibility.
Rita enjoyed many sports. In high school her softball skills required her to play on a boys team. With young children she played badminton and was also an instructor. With Arnold she enjoyed lawn bowling, curling and five pin bowling. Her last time at bat, ever, at a Big Brothers function with Arnold she hit a home run.
Rita loved children. After her own grew up she welcomed a chance to babysit and fostered many from newborn to teenagers for many years. Some of these stayed in touch and expressed their appreciation as adults. They considered her a remarkable caregiver and friend.
Prior to her death, Rita often said she had lived a good life and her only remaining wish was to die so she could be with Arnold again. Their final resting place shares a headstone that reads “Together Forever”.
A celebration of life will take place at the Lake Cowichan Christian Fellowship, 10 King George Street in Lake Cowichan on Monday, August 26 at 1 pm.
In lieu of flowers, Rita asked that contributions be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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