Zita Ruhkamp Burnett passed away at the home of her daughter, Marilyn Skolich, in Redondo Beach, California on June 16, 2004, following a battle with congestive heart failure. She was a long-time resident of Salida, Colorado, Anchorage, Alaska and Redondo Beach, California. She was 93 years old. Mrs. Burnett was born in Hanover, Kansas on July 15, 1911 to Joseph and Marie Ruhkamp. The family moved to Salida, Colorado for her mother's health. On March 30, 1937 she was married to Louis John Costello of Salida. Louis passed away on June 30, 1945 of a perforated stomach ulcer, leaving her with a 5-year-old daughter and a newborn baby girl. On September 12, 1956, Zita married Earl I. Burnett, a D&RGW machinist and long-time resident of Salida. Earl died on April 23, 1973 of cancer. Mrs. Burnett was very active in St. Joseph's Catholic Church. She was president of the Altar and Rosary Society and made vestments for the priests, as well as altar clothes for the church on many occasions. Zita also volunteered at St. Joseph's School helping the students with reading and serving lunch. Mrs. Burnett was such an accomplished seamstress and needleworker that she was known as ''the lady with the golden hands.'' When her youngest daughter, Louanne, was in hish school, she began her own dressmaking and alterations business. Because of failing vision caused by a detached retina and macular degeneration, Mrs. Burnett moved to California in 1985 to live with her daughters. Between 1985 and 1997, Zita traveled to and briefly lived in Bakersfield and Thousand Oaks, California; Greenville, South Carolina; and finally, Anchorage, Alaska, where she lived with her youngest daughter, LouAnne Curley. There she was a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. In 1997, Zita moved back to Redondo Beach, California to live with her eldest daughter, Marilyn Skolich, until her death. Zita was preceeded in death by her sister, Cecilia Nylander of Denver, Colorado, and her brother, Alphonse Ruhkamp of Salida, Colorado. She is survived by her daughters, Marilyn Skolich of Redondo Beach, California and LouAnne Curley of Anchoarge, Alaska and five grandchildren: Lisa & John Skolich of Redondo Beach, Cristin (Curley) Cota, Patrick & Colleen Curley, all of Anchorage, Alaska. A rosary will be held Sunday, June 20, at 7:00 PM at McCormick Mortuary Redondo Beach. There will be two celebrations of her life: the first will be held at St. Lawrence Martyr Church in Redondo Beach, California on June 21 at 10:00 A.M. Following this service, Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery in Salida, Colorado and will be accompanied by a luncheon at St. Joseph's School (719) 539-6419

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  1. LouAnne and Family, Sorry for the loss of your mother. Clearly remember the last time we saw you. You stopped by the service station on your way to Calif to have a outside mirror installed before driving to Calif – green 53 Ford 2 door. $7 including the mirror and installation. John Biglow

  2. LouAnne, I am so sorry to hear of your mother\’s death. I remember her as such a sweet, lovely person. My own mother now lives in Grand Junction but still receives the Salida newspaper and she sent the obit to me. I would love to hear from you and catch up on the last 40+ years. Sincerely, Jan

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