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Rita Victoria Andrews Hellkamp died peacefully of natural causes on March 27, with family by her side. Preceding in death: husband Larry (b 1934; d 2018); mother Ruth (b 1921; d 2002); father Raeburn (b 1907; d 1986); brother Mark (b 1950; d 1970). And many loving cousins and friends.
Rita was born on May 2, 1947, and raised on the Little Miami River near Cincinnati Ohio, swimming with her younger siblings, Mark and Becky, and their cousin Dale who lived down the road.
After Rita trained to be an X-ray technician, she met her husband Larry, an X-ray manager at a neighboring hospital. They had two amazing daughters, Lori (Lee) and Sara (Steven), then they bought a fishing & campground resort on Kentucky Lake.
Rita moved to Columbus GA soon after her first grandchild was born. The joys of Rita’s life were her six grandchildren: Annie, Maria, Joseph, Jane, Zelie, and Peter. Each week they spent an afternoon at Grandma’s house, making mud pies, playing cards, dancing, having fun.
Dancing was a constant in Rita’s life – she started lessons at age 6 and never stopped. In high school she was a featured dancer in Most Happy Fella!, Annie Get Your Gun, Music Man, My Fair Lady, and others. After moving to Columbus, she loved to choreograph her senior exercise and pool classes, where she developed a loyal following of students, many of them becoming dear friends.
Rita was blessed with lovely neighbors who watched over her and her dog Dancer (who has now found a home with her grandchildren).
She always remained close to her sister Becky (also a Larry), Becky’s children: Alli (Charlie) and Lauren; and her husband’s children from a previous marriage.
Every day, starting about the time e-mail was invented, Rita and her sister sent a daily email to each other. Later, her cousin Dale joined the correspondence. Then Rita helped organize a text group of her female Burch cousins, and after being close in childhood, they renewed a closeness by texting about memories, grandchildren, jokes, and football (especially her beloved Cincinnati Bengals).
A rosary and funeral mass will be held at St. Anne’s of Columbus GA on Monday, April 3, starting at 10am. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity that is special to you.
Georgia Cremation, of Columbus, Georgia is assisting the family.