Obituaries & Tributes

Rita Childs

Rita Aileen (Kenyon Geuy McKim) Childs was born on November 11, 1933, in Lebanon, Oregon, to Ben Allen and Dorothy Mildred (Shaw) Kenyon. She graduated from Lebanon Union High School in 1952, already a published poet, and attended the University of Oregon, where she majored in English and Spanish and spent one summer studying in Guadalajara. 

Soon after graduation, she married Paul DeWayne Geuy of Florence, whom she’d met in Italian class. They moved to New Jersey for his two years of military service, then returned to Oregon, where she taught high school English and Spanish in Sweet Home and Florence before her first daughter was born in 1961, and her second in 1966. Paul was a realtor and served as mayor of Florence for four years. They traveled to Ireland and Mexico. 

While raising her children she pursued her interests in cooking, gardening, sewing, history, archaeology, folklore, astronomy, and nature, and she ignited in her daughters a love of reading and a shared joy in those subjects. No Saturday passed without a trip to the library. She also taught them to be curious about the world, and that whenever they encountered something new, they should look it up, whether that meant pulling out the dictionary, paging through the world almanac, or ordering a book from the state library to identify the bizarre mushroom the three of them had just found in the woods. 

After her 1974 divorce, Rita married Frank Stanwood McKim and moved to Springfield with her daughters, where they were able to indulge their love of cats. In the early 1980s, she began working at the Bookmark in downtown Eugene until her retirement. 

In 1988, after Frank’s death, Rita married Arnold Kinney Childs, who had retired to Eugene after a long career with the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations. They enjoyed annual travel to Europe, especially Italy, but also to England, Crete, Switzerland, southern France, and Spain, as well as to New England and Quebec. She was always eager to arrive home in time to plant her large vegetable garden. Together with Arnold, she resumed her study of Italian, and they regularly attended the Oregon Mozart Players and Eugene Symphony. She continued her interests in cooking international cuisine, especially Italian food, but also Indian (as Arnold had worked in India and Pakistan), Mexican, and East Asian. They often hosted pasta parties for their friends. She loved to sew (and sell) cloth dolls and doll clothes. For relaxation, she especially enjoyed reading about the archaeology of Egypt, the Near East, Mesoamerica, and the ancient British Isles, as well as historical fiction about Plantagenet and Tudor England, cookbooks, books about linguistics, and mysteries set in charming British villages. 

For the last 9+ years, she lived in the memory care facility at Gateway Gardens, and her family appreciates the care she received there. 

She is survived by her daughter Laura Akers of Eugene (partner Jonathan Woodward), her daughter Kristin Geuy-Boggs of Springfield (husband Stephen Boggs), and grandsons Bryan Akers of Portland and David Akers of Eugene. She is also survived by her step-sons Michael and Stephen Childs and their families and her long-time son-in-law Richard Akers. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in her name to the Greenhill Humane Society or KWAX. To honor her memory, listen to her favorite song, “Sleepy Lagoon” by Harry James, or the piece “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, while looking at photos of irises.



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