Rita Hearst Middleton left this earth for her heavenly home on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 after a lengthy illness and prolonged stay at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Rita was born October 22, 1947 to E.L. and Connie Netherland Hearst of Benton.In 1965 she graduated from Benton High School where she was a cheerleader, homecoming maid, and outstanding basketball player. Her senior year she was selected Miss Benton High, Most Popular Girl and Best Girl Athlete.
Following high school, Rita attended Holmes Junior College and subsequently worked at the Mississippi Highway Department in Yazoo City. While working there she met the love of her life, Carl Middleton. Shortly thereafter she began working at the law firm of Bridgforth and Love. Carl and Rita were married on January 2, 1971, and they lived in Starkville until Carl graduated from MS State University.
They then returned to Yazoo City where Rita resumed her 40 year career as a legal secretary for Bridgforth and Love, later to become Bridgforth, Love and Norquist. Rita was an active member of First Baptist Church of Yazoo City and served on various committees, including the Benevolence Committee where her tossed green salad became an in-demand item. She was also very active in The Mary Brickell Circle which ministered to the Martha Coker Greenhouses.
She loved providing entertainment and treats for the residents of the homes. Rita never met a stranger and was a friend to all who crossed her path. She welcomed everyone who entered her home and would make sure they left with a full stomach whether hungry or not. She especially loved pampering all of her daughter’s friends and they loved her for doing it. Her infectious smile brightened everyone’s day at work, at church, at home, and even while in a hospital bed. She was completely selfless and lived to make others happy. She loved music and was always so proud to see her daughter or son-in-law play and sing.
Rita was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband of 50 years; a daughter, Jennifer (Steve) Foltz of Aurora, CO; a grandson, Benjamin Wyatt Foltz; a brother, Gatha (Carolyn) Hearst of Canton, MS; two sisters, Edna Rogers and Melba Mood, both of Yazoo City, MS; and several nephews, nieces and grand nephews and nieces. Funeral services for Rita Middleton will be held on Sunday, January 24, 2021 at Stricklin-King Funeral Home in Yazoo City.
Visitation will be from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. followed by a service in the Stricklin-King chapel at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at The Black Jack Baptist Church Cemetery in Vaughan. Reverend Byron Pickering of First Baptist Church will direct the service. Music will be presented by niece Cindy Arredondo.
Pallbearers will be nephews Tim Mood, Chris Mood, Kenneth Clark, and Will Mosby; great-nephew Tanner Mood; and Roger Jones.
The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made in memory of Rita to First Baptist Church of Yazoo City or Blackjack Baptist Church of Vaughan.