Rita Depner Leader left us unexpectedly on April 24, 2019 as the result of a tragic fall. Despite our loss, her spirit lives on in the many lives she touched throughout her 82 years.
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Rita was born in Billings on April 15, 1937 to Martin and Katherine (Gerber) Depner, the youngest of 9 children. She attended Fratt Memorial School, Billings Central Catholic High School, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary College in Leavenworth, KS. A strong faith filled her heart and led her to enter the religious community of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, KS right after high school.
After 16 years as an SCL, Rita took her life in a new direction and married Helmueth (Mutt) Leader in 1970. At that time, Mutt was a widower with two young sons. Together they had a daughter, Amy. She worked as a social worker for over 25 years and very much enjoyed working with clients who had developmental disabilities as well as elderly clients.
Rita was a very kind and compassionate person who loved people and animals alike. In retirement she volunteered at St. Vincent DePaul and in the NICU at St. Vincent Healthcare. She was very active in her church.
Rita was predeceased by her parents, sisters Helen Nordlund and Mary Depner, SCL, and brother Arnold Depner.
She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Helmueth Leader, her sons Jeff and Tim Leader, her daughter Amy (Dean) Wells, her granddaughter Jennifer (James) Potter, great granddaughter Cecelia Potter, and her siblings Earl, Art and Ed Depner and Patricia Gomm, and many nieces and nephews.
A Vigil will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, 215 N. 31st St. in Billings. Funeral Mass will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 29, 2019 at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral. Rite of Committal follows Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery. Condolences for the family may be shared at www.smithfuneralchapels.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Help for Homeless Pets, St. Vincent DePaul or charity of your choice.