Obituaries, June 22, 2024

Written on 06/22/2024

Jennifer “Jenny” Louise (Ruebush) Kelley

Jennifer “Jenny” Louise (Ruebush) Kelley, 60 years old, of Russiaville, passed away Wednesday June 19, 2024, at Community Howard Regional Health. She was born in Kokomo, IN, on July 9, 1963, the daughter of the late David and Chiquita (McCormick) Ruebush.

Jennifer was employed by Pizza Hut, P.L. Porter, and she worked at Square D as a tow motor driver. She had an incredible sense of humor and loved pulling practical jokes on people. Jennifer would help anybody in need. She was a social butterfly who could fit into any crowd. She was a resourceful woman and enjoyed crafting. She was passionate about animals in general, but especially her Pugs that she rescued.

Jennifer is survived by her sons, Brett (Ross Houston) Fivecoate, Blake (Brittany Miller) Fivecoate; brothers, David Ruebush, Matt (Ashley) Ruebush; grandchildren, Sky Fivecoate, Blake Fivecoate Jr., Lonnie John Fivecoate, Madelyn Fivecoate, Carter Fivecoate; step grandchildren, Jacob Smith and Abby Smith; nieces and nephews, Tara Amos, James (Ivy) Horn, Greg Howell, Devon (Dustin) Rhinebarger, Derek Ruebush, Sabrina Ruebush, Maggie Ruebush; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, both sets of grandparents, and her dear great-grandmother, Nellie McCormick.

Friends are invited to visit with the family from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, June 24, 2024, at Stout & Son Funeral Home – Russiaville Chapel, 200 E. Main St., Russiaville, IN 46979 Funeral service will begin at noon on Monday at the funeral home with Pastor Vince Darland officiating. Burial will follow in Twin Springs Cemetery.

Rita Marie Walters

Rita Marie Walters, 78, of Kokomo, Indiana, passed away June 19, 2024. She was born on December 31, 1945, in Kokomo, Indiana, the daughter of James Lindley Sr. and Marjorie (Pearcy) Lindley.

A 1964 graduate of Northwestern High School, Rita retired from Delco Electronics after many years of employment and was a member of UAW 292.

A farm girl at heart, she shared many stories of growing up with her brothers and sisters on the family farm in Ervin Township. One that stood out was winning an onion-eating contest (you ate them like apples) while others provided a glimpse of daily life in a large farm family. She carried the faith and values she learned as a child into adult life, shoring them up with a love of the Indiana countryside and a strong belief in the value of hard work. She was deeply committed to her roles of wife, mother, and grandmother and loved to be involved however she could. She was a leader for both Brownies and Cub Scouts. She was a big supporter of youth sports, encouraging her kids to participate year-round, and especially enjoyed running the concession stand at Northwestern’s ball diamonds for several summers. Later, she volunteered at Howard Elementary, relishing the opportunity to be around children again. She also volunteered at Hillsdale UMC alongside her sister, Karen.

She had a surprising sense of humor that was revealed in unexpected ways. Whether it was getting into character at Halloween or making some unusual cakes for parties with her co-workers, she found ways to make her work at Delco more enjoyable. She was fascinated by television shows where she could watch how medical procedures were done or learn more about other places. She dreamed of adventures and exploring the U.S. and the world. She encouraged her children and grandchildren to read and learn and to see and experience all that was out there while still embracing Howard County as home.

Rita is survived by her children - Rhonda Walters, Rodney and Debbie Walters, and Regina Walters - her grandchildren - Justin Walters, Jon Walters, and James Walters - and her former husband, Randy Walters. Other surviving relatives include - Bonnie Butler, Pat and Andy Anderson, Audrey Burkhalter, Jim and Linda Lindley, Keith and Pam Lindley, and numerous nieces and nephews as well as her former in-laws - Mike and Peggy Walters and their family.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents - Jim and Marjorie Lindley, her sister - Karen Jarrett, her brothers-in-law - Fred Jarrett and Ed Burkhalter, her infant granddaughter - Courtney Walters, and her former father- and mother-in-law - Donald “Pete” and Bonnie Walters.

Rita’s children would like to thank their father, Randy Walters, for all the care and assistance he provided during Rita’s last years. We are also thankful for the many caring professionals at Five Star Residences of Northwoods, Community Howard, Sycamore Village Care Center, and Paradigm Health.

Rita Marie, a beloved pearl of great price.

There will be a time of visitation for Rita on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM at Ellers Mortuary Webster Chapel, 3400 South Webster Street, Kokomo. There will be a time of sharing for family and friends at 1:00 PM. Burial will follow to Sunset Memory Garden Cemetery.

Mildred Elizabeth “Millie” Rataj

Mildred Elizabeth “Millie” Rataj, 99, a Kokomo, Indiana, resident since 2012, passed away at 4:48 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at Century Villa Health Care in Greentown, Indiana. She was born March 8, 1925, in Berwyn, Illinois, the youngest of eight children born to John and Anna (Sevcik) Marecek. On November 20, 1943, she married the love of her life, Henry Joseph Rataj, who preceded her in death on June 19, 2000.

At an early age, Millie and her family were introduced to and put their faith in Jesus Christ through a missionary named Betty Moreland. This conversion changed everything. Our families are deeply grateful for the legacy of faith that was passed on to each of us as a result.

Millie graduated from Harrison High School in 1943. Her graduation gift from Henry was a wedding proposal! Throughout her long life, she enjoyed serving in children’s ministries in all the churches they attended. She planned all the children’s musical programs and made lifelong friends with many of her co-workers.

The Rataj family, Millie, Henry and three children, moved to California in 1954. There she worked as a travel agent. She was thrilled with the opportunity to lead a tour of the Holy Land in the 1960s! She also worked as a church secretary and a medical secretary.

She had many interests in life, and writing her life story was one of the most important, especially as she neared the end of her life. She loved singing (especially hymns), reading the Bible, and praying for her family and friends, spending time with family, playing Skip-Bo and Uno (especially with her dear friend Mina EVERY Sunday afternoon), finding bargains at estate sales and garage sales (especially clothes!), writing letters, scrapbooking, listening to John Hagee and David Jeremiah sermons, watching Hallmark movies, and party planning. She was always the consummate hostess, and EVERYONE enjoyed coming to the Rataj parties!

Survivors include her daughters, Beverly Warshawsky, Kathy O’Brien, and Melanie (Dave) Vess; daughter-in-law, Ann Rataj; grandchildren, Wayne (Georgia) Warshawsky, Keith (Kathleen) Warshawsky, Cristie Jackson, Shannon (Dean) Rubin, Ryan (Kristen) Vess, Julie (Daniel) Drown, and Brianna (David) Lambert; great-grandchildren, Macy Warshawsky, Braxton Warshawsky, Vanessa Madsen, Cayden Jackson, Kaileen Jackson, Conner Jackson, Korrey Housel, Spencer Rubin, Jake Rubin, Elizabeth “Ellie” Vess, Anastasia “Annie” Vess, Matthew Vess, Joseph “Joey” Drown, Simon Drown, April Lambert, Micah Lambert, and Eli Lambert; recent cherished special friends, Pam Clark, Julie Hill, Mina and Joan Uren; and many beloved nieces and nephews throughout the country.

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her son, David Rataj; her parents; her siblings, infant sister Anna, John (Christine) Marecek, Suzanna Bannister, Ann (Harold) Danner, Betty (Ed Carroll & Horace) Hamacher, Milan “Mike” (Addie) Marecek, and Stephan “Steve” (Mickie) Marecek; her nieces, Sandra Danner Stewart, Eleanor (John) Hastings, Joanne (Doug) Thoma, and recently Violet Broschka; and dear friends, Eva Brenner and Alice Pecora.

Our family wishes to thank the wonderful staff of Compassus, especially Meagan and Taylor who loved our mom to the end; the Century Fields and Century Villa staff and residents for their special care, love, and friendship; Pam Clark for visiting and facilitating our last phone call with Mom; and all the Bible Baptist Church friends who visited her and loved on her during her final days.

Burial will take place in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. Messages of condolence may be left online at Arrangements have been entrusted to Stout & Son Funeral Home in Russiaville.

Lea Ann Tolley

Lea Ann Tolley, of Atlanta, IN, went home to the Lord on June 16, 2024. Born November 3, 1957, in Ft. Wayne, IN, Lea's life was a wild ride. She started off in Lutheran school, sowing a seed in her that would grow her whole life as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. Lea also lived through the ‘70s and truly embraced that hippie mindset.

Lea was a proud graduate of Fort Wayne's Northside High, class of 1976. After high school she attended Oolitic Construction Training Center where her career as a heavy equipment operator began; showcasing not only her formidable capacity to excel in a challenging field, but also her tenacity to succeed as a woman in a man's world.

It was while working at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis that Lea was introduced to the love her life, Mike Tolley. Lea and Mike were wed on June 23, 1983. She lost Mike in February 2022.

Lea loved to read and learn. She immersed herself in learning about religion and biblical times. She was most fascinated in Judaism and Christianity and studied her Bible daily when she could.

Lea enjoyed her house plants, of which there is a multitude, some older than her kids. In her younger years her gardens were magnificent, rows of food and flowers, carefully weeded and watered each day. In more recent years, Lea got especially excited about native plants and all of the pollinators they brought to her yard. She also loved watching her doves, cardinals, and hummingbirds.

Lea has been a traveler since she was a child. Her favorite place to go was Arizona, where the red skies and mountains and wild horses captured her heart and spirit. She had stories about traveling all over the United States; from New York, to the southernmost tip in Florida, all the way out west to her beloved Arizona. Mark Twain said it best, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts." As you can imagine, Lea never met a stranger.

Family was the cornerstone of Lea's world. She was a loving mother to James (Natalie) Tolley, Crystal (Jose Urrutia) Tolley, Frances (Johnny) Moore, and Annabel (Derrick) Wolfe. Her legacy continues through her cherished grandchildren: Laney, Lucas, Logan, Embyr, Wrylee, Michael (Riley), Chloe, Beth (Ben), Cylys, Cayla, Mason, Alexis, Robert, Denver, and four great-grandchildren.

Lea's grandchildren will deeply miss her presence; she was a constant source of wisdom, encouragement, and unconditional love. Her cat, Dale, will miss her companionship as she so enjoyed his.

She is also survived by her beloved brother, Rick (Diana) Waters, a few wonderful cousins, and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews. She was the family babysitter and EVERYONE'S favorite aunt.

Lea was preceded in death by her husband Michael Tolley, grandson Peyton Jones, sisters Ronda Woods and Carol Reiter, and her brother Dennis Waters. Lea's parents, John and Agnes Ilene Waters, also preceded her in passing, leaving Lea to carry on their memory through her actions and love.

Friends and family will remember Lea as a spiritual, outspoken individual, who was always hyping up the people she loved most and was never afraid to stand up for what she considered right. Lea loved Jesus and would want you to know that Jesus loves you.

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

City of Firsts Cremation and Funeral Services by Rose and Geiger was entrusted with the arrangements.