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Arita Gretchen Raso

May 22, 1931 — July 13, 2022


Arita Gretchen Raso

Arita Gretchen (Smith) Raso, 91, of Kerrville, TX passed from this life surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

She was born on May 22, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan to parents Julia T. Wenzel and Russell Reginald Smith.  She grew up in Cadillac, Michigan graduating from Cadillac High School in 1949.  She married the love of her life, Anthony J. (AJ) Raso on April 7, 1951 in Fort Riley, Kansas. 

Arita spent 23 years as a military wife traveling the world with AJ.  Together AJ and Arita had three daughters; Roxanne, Ellen and Julia.  On each base she traveled to, Arita taught swimming lessons and even had her own radio show while stationed in Newfoundland.  She loved the theatre, orchestra, singing and dancing. 

Upon her retirement from the VA, Arita moved to Kerrville with her husband in 1993.  She spent the next 20 years traveling the world with AJ and their best friends, Bob and Doris Hayman.  In addition to traveling with friends, she enjoyed yearly family trips and cruises.

She was known for her sassy sense of humor and always had everyone rolling with laughter. She never held back when she had something to say!

She is preceded in death by her parents, Russel R. Smith and Julia T. Wenzel and brothers, Russell and Stanton Smith.

Those left to cherish her memory include her loving husband of 71 years, AJ Raso, daughters; Roxanne M. Loofbourrow and husband Steve, Ellen A. Bitkower and husband Gregory, and Julia E. Decker; grandchildren: Nicole Hutchison and husband Kyle, Christopher Clayton, Kristina Cusatti and husband Abel, Renee Moore and husband Tim, Kimberly McNeal and husband Brent, Jennifer Tarango and husband Joseph, Diana Digges, Julianne Gonzalez and husband Leo, Danielle (Bella) Shearhart and husband Brad, Justin Bitkower and Jason Bitkower. Great grandchildren: Parker, Collin, Paris, Bailey, Skylar, Anthony, Isabella, Gabriella, Martin, Malika, Jayden, J’Lynn, Tatum, Jaxon, Lila Marie, Austin, Mia, Norah, Adelyn, Camille, Elliot, Gillian Grace and best friend of 61 years Doris Hayman, “adopted daughter” Dottie Brookshire; numerous nieces and nephews and her wonderful friends in Oak Hollow and the Oak Hollow Card Group.

Until we meet again, we will think of you often and miss you always. 

A celebration of life will be held at 10AM on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at Zion Lutheran Church, 624 Barnett Street, Kerrville, TX with Pastor Mike officiating the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can made to the following Kerrville organizations, K’Star Children Shelter, Peterson Hospice, Hill Country Orchestra, Playhouse 2000 and the Hill Country Arts Foundation Point Theater in Ingram, Texas.

Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Kerrville Funeral Home (830) 895-5111.


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