Rita Elaine VanDuyn
Indianapolis - Rita Elaine VanDuyn, 66, passed away Saturday, October 26, 2019. She was born April 10, 1953 in Evansville, IN. She was a graduate of Manual High School.
Rita was a caregiver in the Greenfield area for many decades. She cared for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. She often took her clients out and about in town to help them achieve personal independence and to support them in actively participating in their community. She was employed by Tangram where she served as a direct support professional (DSP).
Rita enjoyed cooking and teaching others how to cook. Every Friday, she cooked something special for her co-workers. Needless to say, attendance was always higher on Fridays than any other day of the week. When she was entertaining, she always tried to cook one of her guests’ favorite dishes. And, she always cooked a little extra so that she could send them home with leftovers.
She took a cake decorating class with a friend and excelled at it. Rita took great joy in making someone a gift of one of her beautiful cakes. She loved baking and giving the gift of baked goods. She even baked treats and took them to the cancer center when she went in for her own chemo treatments.
Rita walked around inside Walmart almost every day for exercise. Many of the employees came to know her by name. She also loved to feed animals. It didn’t matter if it was a stray cat, a squirrel or any other four legged critter that frequented her neighborhood. She even stopped by her local Subway several times a week to collect their stale bread so that she could feed it to the ducks.
Rita was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2019. She never asked for a prognosis. She simply made the decision to fight and make the best of each day. Her positive attitude, strong faith and determination during her cancer journey, inspired many others. No matter what the situation, her response was always, “It’ll be ok. I’ll be ok.” Regardless of how she was feeling, after each visit with family or friends, she would end by saying “Today was just a real good day.”
Rita was preceded in death by her father, Robert Bailey. She is survived by her husband, Robert VanDuyn; mother, Rosa Bailey; daughter, Amy “Nikki” St John and her husband, Steve; son, Jerry Baker; sisters: Mildred Littlefield, Christina Carter and her husband, Wade and Polly Ford and her husband, Ron; brothers, Donald Powell and Mike Powell and his wife, Brenda; grandchildren, Angel and DJ Baker; great grandchild, Amiyah Baker; and many other loving family members and dear friends.
Rita’s family would like to thank the staff at the Hancock Regional Hospital Cancer Center and Transitions Unit for their spectacular care.
Per Rita’s request, a celebration of her life will be conducted privately. In lieu of flowers, Rita’s family requests that family and friends please consider making a contribution to Tangram. Tangram was not just Rita’s employer, their mission of supporting adults with intellectual and physical disabilities was very near and dear to Rita’s heart.
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