Print of love and care

2018-10-30 06:01
Rita Stadler.

Rita Stadler.

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She opened her home to the homeless and cared for families in need, nursing their wounded hearts and spirits.

This is the impact Rita Stadler had on her community, according to her family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, who paid tribute to her after her passing two weeks ago.

She passed away at her Maitland home on Saturday 13 October aged 74.

Members of the community joined her family at her funeral service last week, not only to mourn but to also celebrate her life.

A nurse at Woodstock Hospital for many years and a favourite of her community, Stadler was widely known and respected for her ability to open her heart and home to all and sundry.

Her niece, Judith, praised her for “amazingly” opening her home to different families over the years.

“Your kind heart always had space for one more but you could just as easily and quickly assert yourself,” said Judith.

Neighbour Soraya Khan shared these feelings. “Rita was spirited and could party with the best of them, but also kind, helpful and generous to those in need.

“She would allow the homeless to sleep on her stoep.

Khan remembers an incident when one of their neighbours lost all their belongings in a fire.

“Rita immediately told her she had a place for her and her children. All who passed to Koeberg station will know her as she chatted and teased while standing at her gate,” Khan recalls.

“She tended to all my son’s scrapes and ailments as he grew up, along with that of the other children and adults in the neighbourhood. She asked for nothing in return.

“A dog lover, she gave advice and assistance with our animals too. Part of her daily routine was to feed the pigeons,” adds Khan.

She says Stadler was well known by many people in Salt River and Woodstock and respected by the gangsters “as she took no nonsense at the hospital but would still tease and joke”.

Judith says at home, her aunt was an
entertainer.

“Aunty Rita, my aunty, as a young child I remember always feeling a specific excitement when we heard we were going to see you. You had an element of surprise to you. You always had a way of entertaining us with animated gestures, facial expressions and voice, like Ma, but of course multiply that. 

“Or was it the unknown of who you might challenge, perhaps one of the grown-ups, which was always interesting to watch until us kids were scurried away! You loved all of us nieces and nephews.

“It was always interesting discovering what’s going on at Rita’s.

“You had a fantastic house party and at one point out came the ear-piercing gun, one of your party tricks! The only thing predictable about you was your unpredictability! You had style, always took effort to look glamorous and elegant, and I remember you would talk me through your different lotions and potions for lips and eyes,” says Judith.

Both her family and local residents would enjoy her aunt’s biryani and
rotis.

“You always entered the room with energy and exuberance, like a statement – Rita is in the house! We are very sad at your passing, I know you wasn’t always easy but love covers a multitude of things and Aunty Rita, you left your footprint on those who have met you, been cared for by you, loved by you.”

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