Rita Picken


Rita Louise Picken, a loving and gentle soul, passed away peacefully on April 27, 2023, in Ottumwa. She was born on March 4, 1933, in Fairfield, Iowa, Rita was a devoted mother, sister, grandmother, and friend who touched many lives with her kindness and unwavering spirit.

Rita was born to the late Paul Vance Palm and Ercel Iowa Keller Palm, who lovingly raised her alongside her siblings, Bob Palm of Fairfield, Ron Palm of Ottumwa, Beverly Barns of Fairfield, and the late Lon Palm. Rita spent her childhood in Fairfield. She graduated from Fairfield High School.  She married William Raymond Picken, he worked for Fire stone which took the couple to Indianapolis.  Rita began pursuing her passion for helping others by earning a degree in Nursing in Indianapolis.  The couple started their family and Rita dedicated her life to being a stay-at-home mother and homemaker. Rita’s family grew to include her daughter, Pamela Picken of Ottumwa, stepson, Jamie Picken, and her late daughters, Janet Alexander and Rita Scherer. She was a pillar of strength for her family, always providing love, support, and guidance.

In 1992, after the passing of her husband, Rita began working as a nurse at Good Samaritan in Ottumwa. Her compassionate nature and gentle touch made her a beloved figure at the facility. Rita’s dedication to her patients and the nursing profession exemplified her selfless spirit and commitment to caring for others. During this time, she also became a devoted member of Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, where she found solace and a sense of community.

Rita’s interests extended beyond her work and church involvement. She cherished spending time with her two grandchildren and loved to see them grow and flourish. Rita’s family was her pride and joy, and she never hesitated to share her love and support with them. Her kind and gentle demeanor made her a cherished figure among her family and friends, and her presence will be deeply missed.

In addition to her daughter Pamela, stepson, Jamie, and siblings Bob Palm of Fairfield, Ron Palm of Ottumwa, Marlyn Wagner of Ottawa, IL and Beverly Barns of Fairfield, Rita is survived by her two grandchildren, who will carry on her loving legacy. She is preceded in death by her father and mother, Paul and Ercel Palm, a brother, Lon Palm, and two daughters, Janet Alexander and Rita Scherer.

As we remember Rita Louise Picken, we celebrate a life of love, kindness, and gentle care for those around her. Her memory will live on in the hearts of her family, friends, and all those who were fortunate enough to know her.

A grave side service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday May 1, 2023 at Eldon Cemetery with Father Danny Mallory officiating.  In lieu of flowers memorials in Rita’s honor to be designated later by the family may be left at the cemetery or mailed to the family at 929 N. Court, Ottumwa, IA 52501.  Friends may leave online condolences at www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com.

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