Rita Rae (Dement) Erdem
April 16, 1950 – August 15, 2020
Rita passed away from cancer at the Josie Harper Hospice House in Omaha. She is survived by her beloved husband of 34 years, Gaffar. Rita was preceded in death by her parents Vivian (Clutts) and Vern Dement. Also surviving are brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law in Turkey, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many dear friends. Rita will be laid to rest alongside her parents at Hills of Rest Cemetery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Rita was born and raised in Sioux Falls. She was a graduate of Washington High School and went on to attend the University of South Dakota-Vermillion where she earned her teaching degree. She later earned her Master’s Degree in Urban Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Rita taught 7th Grade Core and ESL students for over 35 years in the Omaha Public Schools. Following her retirement, she was a regular substitute teacher for the ESL program.
Rita was interested in everything and everyone she met. She generously gave of her time and talents frequently donating to various charities in the greater Omaha community such as Stephen Center, Salvation Army and Open Door Mission. She was a past and the current president of Altrusa International of Omaha; a women’s community service organization, to which she was very devoted. Rita also enjoyed attending Creighton volleyball and baseball games as well as the Omaha Symphony and Playhouse. She also enjoyed traveling with her husband and volunteering at the Durham Museum.
Rita had a generous spirit and was always ready to help anyone in need. She will be greatly missed by her husband and all those who had the privilege of knowing her.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Altrusa International of Omaha in care of the funeral home.