Rev. Rita K. Brown
APRIL 8, 1950 – MAY 29, 2021
Rev. Rita K. Brown, 71, of Quinlan, Texas, entered her Heavenly home on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
She was born on April 8, 1950, in Columbus, Ohio, to Charles & Pauline (Weaver) Smurr. Rita was born and raised in the Pickerington/Baltimore, Ohio area, and was the fourth of ten children. She always cherished being a part of a large family and her childhood memories. She graduated in 1968 as Salutatorian of Liberty Union High School in Baltimore, Ohio. Rita went on to graduate from the Ohio State Beauty Academy and worked at Nina’s Beauty Shop in Lancaster. While very active in her church she felt a call to ministry, where she would be serving and blessing others for years to come.
Rita attended local pastor school and received her first appointment at Brownsville United Methodist Church. While earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Outdoor Recreational Studies from Ohio University in 1988, she served Saltillo United Methodist Church and Crooksville United Methodist Church. Starting seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, she was appointed to Russellville United Methodist Church in Brown County, Ohio. In 1991, she received her Masters of Divinity and was appointed to Oakwood United Methodist Church in Brown Township in Paulding County, Ohio, where God had even bigger plans for her.
In September of 1991, shortly after her move to Oakwood and much to her surprise, she met Leo Brown, whom she married in December that same year and became an instant mom to his three children. Rita and Leo were able to serve churches together, with her in the pulpit and him at the organ and piano throughout their marriage.
In 1992, she was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection with the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. Following her ministry in Oakwood, Rita served at Allentown United Methodist Church of Elida, Ohio, Lebanon United Methodist Church of Lebanon, Ohio, and then retired after serving 13 years at Mills Memorial United Methodist Church of Lancaster, Ohio in 2019. She was also very involved in the West Ohio United Methodist Camp Program for several years, with her love for camping and the outdoors.
Rita was an accomplished seamstress, making lots of clothes for family over the years, including her own wedding dress. She was the ultimate pie baker, especially her raspberry and grape pies (which will be missed!). Most of all, Rita enjoyed time spent with her family and friends. Since childhood, Rita’s favorite place to be was Stoutsville Camp Meeting, with family and friends, which also provided her another opportunity to minister to others. Rita was a devoted mom and adored her children, Pete, Sara, and Kris, and embraced them as if they were her own by loving them unconditionally and providing countless opportunities for them to learn and grow.
Following retirement, Rita and Leo moved to Texas to be near their grandchildren, who were her pride and joy. She loved spending time with them and their overnight visits. She enjoyed the lake view and watching sunsets from their home. Rita and Leo attended First United Methodist Church in Quinlan, where they were warmly welcomed into a new fellowship of believers, as well as the Kitsee Knoll Estates neighbors. In the short time in Texas, they truly felt like this was home.
Her devotion to her family and 38 years of ministry left a lasting impression on many, as she will be remembered for her unwavering faith and commitment to sharing the love of Jesus Christ. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23. We rejoice in her life, and in her death, as Rita has been welcomed Home and has met her Jesus face to face.
Rita was preceded in death by her mother, Pauline Smurr, who died when Rita was 2; father, Charles Smurr; son, Peter Brown; and sister, Janis Carson. She is survived by her husband of 29 years, Leo Brown of Quinlan, Texas; daughters, Sara Thomas of Morrow, Ohio, and Kristine & Scott Reed of Fairview, Texas; grandchildren, Blaine and Charleigh Reed; stepmom, Mary Smurr of Lancaster, Ohio; siblings, Barbara Singer of Lancaster, Ohio, Karen Siders of Pleasantville, Ohio, Roxanne Smurr of Lancaster, Ohio, Kevin (Katie) Smurr of Pataskala, Ohio, Barry (Kristi) Smurr of Baltimore, Ohio, Tori (Mike) Gilmour of Lancaster, Ohio, Mona (Bill) Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia, and Kent (Lori) Smurr of Lancaster, Ohio; and countless nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
A visitation and reception will be held on Sunday, June 6, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Ted Dickey West Funeral Home, 7990 President George Bush Turnpike, Dallas, TX 75252. A second visitation will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in First United Methodist Church, 163. E. Wheeling St., Lancaster, OH 43130, with a Celebration of Life and Worship Service beginning at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Alice Wolfe and Pastor Jason Grubb co-officiating. A graveside service and inurnment will be held on Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. in Oak Grove Cemetery, County Rd. 205, Brown Township, Oakwood, OH 45873. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Asbury Theological Seminary Scholarship Fund, Attn: Advancement, 205 N. Lexington Ave., Wilmore, KY 40390 or online at www.asburyseminary.edu/give.
Asbury Theological Seminary Scholarship Fund
Visitation and Reception
June 6, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
TED DICKEY WEST FUNERAL HOME
7990 President George Bush Turnpike
Dallas, Texas 75252
June 12, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
163 E. Wheeling St.
Lancaster, Ohio 43130
Celebration of Life & Worship Service
June 12, 2:00 pm
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
163 E. Wheeling St.
Lancaster, Ohio 43130
Graveside Service & Inurnment
June 13, 2:00 pm
OAK GROVE CEMETERY
County Rd. 205
Oakwood, Ohio 45873