Frederika Rita Price was the family matriarch, and she was famous for her optimism, kindness, willingness to help others, and work ethic.
She died on September 16, 2021, at the age of 81, from COVID-19 complications at McLaren Hospital in Lansing.
Born to Arenddina (Slettenhaar) and Julius Heuer in Almelo, Netherlands, Price moved with her family of seven to Lansing at 15 years.
Even though Frederika was her official name, when she became a US citizen, she added the name Rita as her middle name. According to her daughter Debra Olmstead, most people called her Rita.
After stepping down from a long-term post in a doctor’s office, she ended up working part-time at Lansing Mall’s CJ Banks, Olmstead said.
“She was shopping one day and ended up helping another lady put together an attire with jewelry and so on, and they employed her. She received rebates for herself too,” her daughter explained.
Price’s life, according to her daughter, wasn’t really easy. However, she never let it stop her. She remained upbeat and had a firm belief in God. Before reaching 25 years, she already had five children. By the early 1970s, she was divorced and became a single parent, and lived with a rare blood disorder.
Price remained active and mobile, always looking for opportunities to assist others.
“She trained me on becoming a better individual and the value of offering service to others,” Donald Price, her grandson, said.
Her favorite pastime was gardening, and she spent her winters redoing the paint of the garden gnomes she had scattered around her yard.
“She fell and broke her hip in April of 2020,” Olmstead explained. “She needed rehab, but by summer, she had returned to her garden.” She spent her evenings going to yard sales and drinking beer.
Price was a dedicated choir member at Grand Ledge First United Methodist Church. Also, she volunteered with the women’s group and assisted at rummage sales.
Price, according to Olmstead, had been fully vaccinated and was waiting to receive a heart valve operation when she began having respiratory issues. An ambulance took her to McLaren Hospital where she was admitted for COVID-19. Her daughter stated that she died after a week on oxygen in the hospital.
Price left behind her sons Roy (Amy), Donald (Debbie), and Carl, as well as her daughter Debra (Andrew). Also left to mourn her are her 16 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren, her brother Gerrit (Mila) Heuer, sister Jeanne Guile, and her dog, Jordie.