Rita Cook Anderson
Rita Cook Anderson
Rita Cook Anderson, 84, passed away July 20, in Wimberley, Texas. She was born Dec. 16, 1936, to Idella Moore Cook and Dr. Vernon Rudolph Cook at the former Sailors, Soldiers and Marines Hospital in San Marcos.
Her lifelong reverence for the waters of Cypress Creek began in the 1940s, when the Cooks were among several families that acquired lots and old cabins on the creek just below the low-water bridge. The 13-mile trip from San Marcos was a real adventure in those days. Descendants of those families occupy the houses still.
Cheering on the Rattlers sports teams was a highlight of life at San Marcos High School; only once was Rita Jean run over by the football team after slipping on a wet field. After studying at Mount Vernon Junior College for women in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans’ Tulane University, Mrs. Rita Cook Anderson graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in education from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught elementary school students in El Paso and Houston.
Continuing to serve with Kappa Alpha Theta, the entryway of the Anderson family’s Houston home was annually stacked high with guides to the sorority’s popular antiques show.
Southern Belle Rita Cook’s life really took off when she married handsome young airline pilot Peter DeWitt Anderson, a Yankee hailing from upstate New York, in San Marcos on July 26, 1958. Sixty-three years of extensive travel, sometimes with her husband in the captain’s seat, from Bangkok to Moscow, annual snow skiing trips and family backpacking adventures ensued.
The three Anderson kids grew up in cozy Hunter’s Creek Village in West Houston. Tight bonds formed among the “Pifer (Road) Gang” remain today. Mom served as a Girl Scout leader and delivered packs of teenaged boys to 5 a.m. ice-hockey practices in the “Rita Wagon.”
Seeking to honor family and regional history, Mrs. Anderson was devoted to keeping her mother’s property in Gonzales a working ranch. A certificate stating the Moore Ranch has operated continually since 1890 hangs above her desk. She worked with the Heritage Association of San Marcos and contributed to establishing Wimberley’s earliest Master Plan as a city.
Rita and Pete Anderson appeared together in the documentary on Cypress Creek, “Let’s Keep It Flowing,” for the Texas Master Naturalists.
Outgoing and organized, Rita was an early and frequent chair of the annual Wimberley Institute of Cultures’ Annual Pie Social. The extended Anderson clan actually became ringers of a sort, capturing top prizes.
Rita Anderson belonged to the Wimberley Civic Club and served St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in many capacities, including vestry member and wedding consultant.
Never one to miss a social gathering, the Andersons were known for the annual Christmas Party they hosted beginning in Houston in 1963. Frivolity among their “Family” of local friends included the Mad Hatters fete they planned with pals Al and Jean Ann Sander driving back from a trip to Santa Fe.
Rita Anderson is survived by husband Peter Dewitt Anderson, children Allison Cook Anderson, Christopher Cook Anderson, Peter Dewitt Anderson Jr. and spouse Leah, grandchildren Carter O’Keefe Anderson and Kaitlyn O’Keefe Esbenshade and spouse Nathan, Sister Susan Cook Eaker and spouse John, and niece Meredith Eaker Yeagans and spouse Eddie, and nephew David Moore Eaker.
Rita’s motto was “The Road Goes on Forever and The Party Never Ends.” We have faith that God has extended her an eternal invitation to life that truly never ends.
Those wishing to honor Rita’s memory are invited to donate to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 6000 FM 3237, Wimberley 78676.
All are invited to a Funeral Service and Graveside on Saturday, July 31, at 10 a.m. at Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wimberley. A Celebration of Life will follow at MacArthur Hall.
Arrangements in care of Pennington Funeral Home, 323 N. Comanche, San Marcos, Texas 78666, 512-353-4311 ~ www.penningtonfuneralhome.com