Rita Newble was a woman of wisdom and abundant faith. Beyond this distinction, however, she was a woman of great compassion and sincerity. Family, friends and strangers alike always knew where they stood with Rita, always knew that they could count on her generous, loving spirit when they needed it most. Determined and devout, it was Rita’s dream to inspire others through the word of God, which she herself so deeply believed in.
Rita was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 18, 1967, to Rafael and Ines (Llanes) Reyes, both being of Puerto Rican descendent. It happened that one of Rafael’s brothers married one of Ines’ sisters and the two families made their home next to each other in a duplex on the south side of Milwaukee. The two couples both went on to have large families and soon there were 16 children in all running around the house. Among them was Rita, the 5th of 8 children of Rafael and Ines.
There wasn’t anything more important to the Reyes than family, and with 20 people in their combined family, there was always some kind of celebration going on, whether it was for birthdays, holidays or regular get togethers, which still continues to this day. Rita was about 11 when her family moved to a larger house on the north side of town. Her father provided for them working in the foundry, while her mother had her hands full raising 8 children. Money was always tight for the Reyes family who lived off of one income, so Rita’s mother made many of the children’s clothes. As a child, Rita often grumbled about having to wear all the hand-me downs, but later was just thankful for what she had.
Rita was always an active young lady who enjoyed playing sports in school, especially softball. She had a very creative side too, something she put to good use working on the stage crew in the school theater, creating scenery. Rita received her education attending Longfellow Grade School, Edison Middle School and Rufus King High School. During her freshman year in high school, Rita met Marshall Newble in Algebra class. It wasn’t until her senior year though that one of their mutual friends told Marshall that she liked him. He didn’t waste any time asking Rita to homecoming, which included teaching her how to dance because she wasn’t very coordinated (despite being an athlete) and didn’t have any rhythm either. This was one of Marshall’s fondest memories of their teenage years. When Rita reminisced about their youthful days, it always brought back the memory of their first date. Marshall took her to a movie and then Burger King, where he insisted she sit down while he got the food; he didn’t want her to see him using coupons to pay. To this day, Rita liked to tease Marshall, asking if he had money or was he going to use coupons.
The sweethearts graduated together from Rufus King High School in June 1985. Rita then went on to attend Milwaukee Area Technical College, where she earned an Associates Degree in Child Development and became a certified Dietician. Shortly after graduating, Rita and Marshall were invited to go to church with her sister Rocky and her family. They accepted the invitation and it became the most treasured day in their lives as they both found Jesus Christ. Only a month later, on July 25, 1985, Rita and Marshall were baptized in the name of the Jesus Christ and were filled with the Holy Ghost. To add to their joy, the couple was happily married at St. Francis Church in Milwaukee on March 22, 1986.
Over the next several years, Rita and Marshall filled their hearts and home with the joy of three wonderful children: Marshall (July 1987), Angel (November 1988) and Vashti (April 1994). Besides being a devoted mother, Rita worked several jobs so that her husband Marshall could finish his schooling. She was the Assistant Manager at Zayer Department Store and a Sales Associate at Coplan Appliance Store and Goodwill Industries. Once Marshall completed school, Rita went back to further her education as well.
Church was so important to Rita, and she believed in the power of prayer and was driven by her faith and deep spirituality in all aspects of her life. It was said the Rita learned about having a “servant’s heart” from her parents, which prepared her for doing the Lord’s work. The couple was also deeply thankful for the great teaching they received at Parkway Apostolic Church, which only deepened their faith in the Lord and strengthened them in times of trial. Before they were led to pastoring, Rita and Marshall taught Bible study classes, while Rita sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and was a leader of small groups. In 2006, the couple began pastoring in a mission, which was an extension of Parkway called Apostolic Worship Center on the north side of Milwaukee. The work started with 12 people, but it wasn’t long before it was well over 100. With that, the Center became a self-sufficient and independent work in January 2009. The ladies of the congregation in which Rita served would agree that the two words that best describe her are caring and compassionate; she nurtured many through her teaching, counseling, mentoring, and friendship.
In 1989, Rita was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which progressed in severity in 2001 to her lungs, landing her in the hospital for 5 months with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Over the next several years, Rita would also suffer with thyroid disease, cancer and had a tracheotomy. Despite her many health problems, Rita always stayed focused on what truly mattered in her life – her faith, family and friends. Always thinking of others, she and Marshall were foster parents for 5 years too. Though the demands of their calling required many hours and sacrifice, Rita found time to enjoy some hobbies, like scrapbooking with her daughters and painting. She was also a sketch artist and made beautiful stained glass art, which many bought from her.
Rita entered Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Mequon, WI with complications from pneumonia and was called home on Saturday, December 5, 2009, at the age of 42. Rita was the beloved wife and best friend of Marshall Newble; devoted mother of Marshall, Angel and Vashti; loving daughter of Rafael and Ines Reyes (nee Llanes); dear sister of Maritza “Mari” (Manuel) Diaz, Raquel “Rocky” (Willis) Walker, Marta (Hugo) Roman, Rafael (Mary) Reyes, Aurora “Lodi” (Frank) Brookens, Diana (Willie) Owens and Lucia “Luci” (Eric) Carter. She is further survived by other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be on Friday, December 11, at Parkway Apostolic Church, 10940 S. Nicholson Road, Oak Creek, WI 53154, from 4 – 6:45 p.m. followed by the funeral service at 7:00 p.m. Interment will be in Glen Oaks Cemetery. Please visit Rita’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may sign her online guest book or share a memory with her family.
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