Preceded in passing by her husband, Charles Ray Kirkland, they loved and served their community of Dallas for 61 years. Rita, a retired second grade school teacher, was a lifelong learner and advocate of children. Rita was the biggest cheerleader of her five grandchildren by attending every dance concert, piano recital, gymnastic meet, soccer, basketball, and volleyball game, and track meet. Her grandchildren, Kellyn Mylechreest (Edward), Wesley Stenzel (Luke), Caleb Thornburg, Ava Neely, and Emily Neely valued every minute Maw Maw spent with them.
Rita was passionate about helping children know the love of Jesus and increasing their Bible knowledge. She spent years volunteering to teach in Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Teen Groups, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and anywhere there was an opportunity to care for children and young adults. She insisted that all children memorize the Psalm 23, the Books of the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, the Fruits of the Spirit and the Beatitudes before leaving her classroom.
Rita is the daughter of the late Thomas Lee Jenkins and Bertha Whisenant Jenkins. Three sisters and one brother have gone on before her. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
Rita's Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, December 4, 2023, at Flint Groves Baptist Church at 2:00pm. The family will receive friends at 1:00pm with a committal service to follow at Gaston Memorial Park.
Memories and condolences for Rita may be shared at www.carothersfuneralhomegastonia.com.
Gina Thornburg (Kelly)Daughter
Marla Neely (Mike)Daughter
Kellyn Mylechreest (Edward)Grandchild
Wesley Stenzel (Luke)Grandchild
Mamie Belle SmithSister-in-law