Rita Vinetta (Sparnins) Childs, 65, of Champlin, Minnesota, passed away at home on June 11, 2019, from complications of lung cancer.
Rita was born in Toronto, Canada. Her family moved to Minnesota in 1958. She graduated from St. Anthony Village High School in 1972 and went on to earn her master’s in education from the University of Minnesota. She recently retired after 30 years of teaching, including the past 15 years of teaching science at Mahtomedi High School. Rita’s passion for teaching and science was her defining characteristic.
Rita recently celebrated 40 years of marriage to the “love of her life,” her husband Richard. They had two sons, Alex and Blake. She was able to witness the recent marriage of Blake with Angie in a ceremony held at Whitefish Lake. She embraced her first grandchild, Kai, “the joy of her life.” Kai is the daughter of Alex and his wife Carly in North Carolina.
Rita loved life. Her motto was “if not now, when?” In recent years, she was able to witness a total solar eclipse, go on an Alaskan cruise and build her new lake home for her retirement years.
Rita’s Latvian heritage was important to her. As a girl, she danced in a Latvian folk dancing group. She developed many lifelong friendships through the schools, summer camps and festive gatherings. She traveled with her father to Latvia following the collapse of the Soviet Union and returned in 2013 with her son Blake and brother Arnie to witness the incredible Latvian Song and Dance Festival.
Since 1987, Rita and her family have cherished many days at Whitefish Lake. Her boys were regular winners of many fishing contests. Extended family and friends were always embraced by Rita’s lakefront hospitality. Rita served as the Whitefish Lake water quality monitor for the DNR for 24 years. Following her retirement from teaching, Rita became a member of the Northwoods Women and always looked forward to the Tuesday walks and lunch. Rita will be deeply missed by family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her father, Andrejs Sparnins; sister, Ilona; and infant brother, Martin.
She will be deeply missed by her husband of 40 years, Richard; sons, Alex (Carly), Blake (Angie); granddaughter, Kai; mother, Velta Sparnins; brother, Arnie (Kathy) Sparnins; family and good friends.
There will be a gathering time from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, and a Service of Remembrance at 6:30 p.m. and Reception to follow at the Cremation Society of MN, 7835 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, MN (763-560-3100). Memorials are preferred to Wisconsin Public Radio at wpr.org.