Rita Helen Strand died on July 4, 2018, at Brookdale in Miramar Beach, Fla. She was born Dec. 16, 1926, in Burlington to Stanley and Marie (Vos) Szydlowski. She met Alfred Strand from Saint Maries, Idaho and they married Jan. 6, 1951, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burlington.

After enjoying many years in Cedar Park on Browns Lake they moved to Lake Geneva and raised their four sons and one daughter. Water was a way of life for Rita as she took great pleasure in teaching people to swim, save, and instruct those who teach others how to survive in and enjoy the water. Everywhere Rita went she was close to the water and always found ways to enjoy it with family and friends.

After Lake Geneva, Rita and Al found their way to Green Lake, where she spent many years working with the waterfront team at the American Baptist Assembly. Most years resulted in a new group of staff joining for a wonderful summer of working, helping, and learning. She loved giving tours of Green Lake for passengers aboard the “Bickel.”

Their next opportunity came just outside Shawano, Wisconsin where Rita took the role of instructor for the Native American Indians on the Menomonee Indian Reservation. They lived on the Wolf River just off the Indian reservation, and swimming across the river was the daily challenge for Rita and guests alike.

After Al’s retirement, they moved to Destin, Fla. to join her sister, Mary Jo, and brother-in-law, Carl Napoli, in enjoying the beautiful Emerald Coast. Here where their lives revolved around family, friends, travel and church. All were welcome and encouraged to visit often and stay as long as possible. Their retirement years included many trips with family and friends to countries in Europe, the Middle East, South and Central America, Scandinavia, and Mexico.

Rita is survived by her sisters, Joan (Herman) Schauble and Mary Jo (Carl) Napoli; her sons, Marty (Sandi) Strand, Kevin (Barb) Strand, and Keith (Brenda) Strand; daughter-in law, Kim Strand; many wonderful grandchildren and great grandchildren; nephews and nieces; extended family; and close friend, Mary Ellen Toomey.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Alfred Strand; her parents, Stanley and Marie Szydlowski; her sister, Helen Szydlowski; her son, Kim Strand; and her daughter, Karen Strand.

A celebration of Rita’s life will be held at Resurrection Catholic Church (259 Miramar Beach Drive, Miramar Beach, FL 32550) on Friday July 27, 2018 at 10 a.m. with a reception lunch immediately following the mass.

Donations can be made to Resurrection Catholic Church or to an organization consistent with your memories of what mattered most to Rita. Flowers are being accepted.

Clary-Glenn Freeport Chapel Funeral Homes and Crematory is serving the family. Well-wishers may visit www.clary-glenn.com.