Rita Marie Callicrate Hildred
Born February 7, 1924
Passed November 26, 2017
Rita Hildred lived a beautiful life for 93 years. She was born in Greeley, CO. She attended 14 different schools before her high school graduation from Fort Collins High School.
She met her husband (Pete Hildred) when she was 14 years old, when her sister and his brother were married. Pete and Rita married several years later, March 1, 1946. They spent a happy 57 years together until Pete’s passing in 2004. They moved to “the family farm” in LaPorte, CO, in 1953, where they raised six amazing creative children. Rita kept an immaculate house. She easily shared her knowledge of sewing and cooking with numerous family and friends, including 4-H groups, and notably taught a blind girl to knit. Rita also worked as a nurse, going back to school to study nursing as an adult on September 16, 1977. She went to work for Poudre Valley Hospital in April 1978, until she retired in April 1987. She purchased her first new car with cash: It was a red pickup truck. Rita and Pete had a camper made for it, and they traveled the U.S. looking for the best pie.
Her faith shined brightly and love was apparent to anyone who came to “the farm.” Her acceptance of all and hospitality were genuine. A sign in the family room said, “You get 30 minutes and then you are a part of the family.” That is how she lived her life, and she passed these ideas on to her children and grandchildren. Her deep faith was filled with this same feeling of camaraderie. She could be found playing cards in the church basement with her lady friends or making Christmas ornaments for the parish and her ever-growing family. Quilting and handicrafts kept her always busy with the next project.
Her sewing legacy lives on in the quilting group of UFO’ers (UnFinished Objects), who affectionately dubbed her the “most honored matriarch” of the group. They will always remember her willingness to help solve problems with great ideas. When Rita spoke, everyone listened. Her kindness and attention to detail was inspirational, and “she really knew her way around a featherweight” sewing machine.
She kept beautiful gardens, including roses and iris and various other flowers. Her raspberry patch and veggies were well tended, and her green thumb bloomed with her epic house plants (that died as soon as they came to live at my house). Her pets were cherished members of the family, and animals loved her.
She would cook an amazing meal for anyone and everyone who came to the farm. She was known by all for her jars of homemade pIckles stored neatly in the cellar. Anyone could treasure-hunt to find a feast of leftovers from an amazing home-cooked meal, tucked in the refrigerator in reused plastic containers marked and re-marked—once containing margarine or Cool Whip.
She was the original recycle and reuse queen. Her stacks of plastic containers, all neatly organized, will put any plastic storage system to shame. All scraps of food went to compost or to the chickens. If you were in the kitchen when it was full, she would send you out to empty the container. (Family meant you helped out—bloodline was not required.)
Rita played cards, religiously played cards. She usually won. She played her best no matter her opponent. (Great-grandchildren were not an exception.) She could count cards in multiple decks, and always remembered that “one more rule” as she did it. Everyone felt proud when they actually beat Rita and she would claim to be losing her mind.
She is survived by her six children, nine grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren. It would be remiss to not include all who had the pleasure to meet her, spend time at “the farm,” quilt with her, or play games like “Hand and Foot” with her. Her six children didn’t stray far as they all live in the state of Colorado and gather regularly at “Glutton Club.” Here a project may be completed, a tool may be built, or a card game may break out. During these gatherings, there is always too much food and a great story with a family that genuinely like each other. This is a tribute to her as Rita and Pete set the tone for the family all these years. Anyone who knew her for even an afternoon felt her strong warmth and passion for keeping a clean house (that may have skipped a generation or two as much as she tried to teach us to fold a fitted sheet into a perfect square). But the greatest gift she gave to all who knew her was her genuine kindness, smile, easy laugh and passion for helping anyone and everyone. We are so lucky to have known her and to have been loved by her.