Juanita “Nita” Ruth Ankenbruck

Juanita “Nita” Ruth Ankenbruck, 86, of Pearland, passed away peacefully with her children by her side on Friday, October 11th, 2019. She was born on January 22, 1933 to her parents, Gus and Ruth Freitag in Houston, Texas and was one of eight children.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 46 years, Joseph Ankenbruck, Sr., daughter, Patti Powell and siblings; Gus Freitag, Ellis Freitag, Jean Stone and Jane Ford.

Nita is survived by her children; son, Joseph Ankenbruck, Jr. and wife Candace of Pearland, daughters; Shelly Durst of Katy, Lisa Frey and husband Barney of Pearland, Cindy Collier and husband Keith of Friendswood, Lori Lott-McCue and husband Mike of Friendswood, Kay Petersen and husband John of Arlington, Grandchildren; Josh Frey (Krystal), Mandy Saenz (Pete), Jenna Kervin (Jason), Tessa Drab (Jonathan), Amy Collins (Shawn) Kyle Durst (Sarah), Brandon Collier (Michelle), Ryan Powell (Ashley), Katy Durst (Matt), Travis Frey (Rachel), Kimberly Hoff (Stephen), Chelsea Lott, Hannah Lott, Elizabeth Gardocki (Jonathan), Krissa Powell (Tyler), Kylee McCue, Landry Petersen, Delaney Petersen, Joey Petersen and Mia Petersen, siblings; Evelyn Harrison of Texas City, Gilbert Freitag and wife Virginia of Houston, Greg Freitag and wife Doris of Texas City,  11 great-grandchildren, and a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members and friends.

In 1968 she moved with her family to Pearland where she has resided for the last 51 years. Her greatest joy in life was being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Outside of her family, Nita was also involved in many activities and organizations that kept her life busy and fulfilled until her final days. She was an active member of St. Helen Catholic Church where she dedicated her time providing lunches for the Day of Prayer participants as well as feeding the parish priests. She was also a member of The Catholic Daughters for over 60 years, Altar Society, Eucharistic Ministry, Funeral Meals Chairman and Meals on Wheels for 25 plus years.

When Nita wasn’t serving others, she could most likely be found at home working in her favorite place, her backyard. She found peace and serenity there and had a passion for gardening and keeping her yard immaculate. She was a woman of many trades and talents that included cooking, baking, and sewing and could whip up any breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert on demand without a thought or need to run to the grocery store. Her kitchen was stocked as well as any HEB in town.

It is no secret that she was an avid sports fan and loved her Houston teams, especially her Astros. In 2018, her grandchildren purchased her very own commemorative brick and it was laid at the entrance of Minute Maid Park. It reads: “Nan loves her Stros like she loves her grandkids!” and that could not be more true.

To know Nita was to love her. She will be missed by all, but her memory will live on in us all forever.

A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 with a Rosary beginning at 6:30 p.m. at St Helen Catholic Church in Pearland. The Church is located at 2209 Old Alvin Road, Pearland, TX 77581. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Helen Catholic Church with Rev. Jim Courville officiating. A graveside service will immediately follow at Forest Park Lawndale in Houston, Texas.

Following the graveside service, the family would like to invite friends back to the church for a lunch reception at Helena Hall, 2209 Old Alvin Road, Pearland, TX 77581.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Nita’s name to St. Helen Catholic Church.

Condolences may be sent to the Ankenbruck family in care of Crowder Funeral Home at www.crowderfuneralhome.com or 2422 E. Broadway, Pearland, Texas 77581, 281-412-3000.


  1. As sad as it is that your mom has left us here on earth, I think we are all comforted that she will be reunited with loved ones in Heaven. Joe, Shelly, Lisa, Cindy, Lori & Kay, thank you for sharing your mom with all of your friends. She was the most genuine person who always told me ANY time I saw her to come by & visit (and wouldn’t have even been mad if i backed out of the driveway onto her front yard grass like in my youth.) Her legacy will live on in all of you and your incredible families. I will keep you all in my prayers and I sure hope one of you can make teacakes…hers were the BEST!! Rest in Peace, Sweet Nita!! Love you all.

    April Shecterle & family
  2. Please know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

    Sonia Del Bosque
  3. I shared lots of good times with Nita and all the girls. Did not see her much in the last few years but it was always a bright spot when we did connect.
    My love and prayers for all of you.
    Judy Parson (Judy Robb)


    Judy Parson
  4. Nita was a “Roll Model” beyond reach!
    Hope her head can hold her crown.
    She’ll be remembered in a loving way
    by all who crossed her path forever.
    Love to ALL of her dear family.

    Gilbert and Virginia
  5. To her children especially Lisa,Lori and Cindi and the rest of her family. My thoughts and prayers are with you as go through this difficult time.
    The gates of heaven will be wide open to receive this beautiful soul who was so good and kind to so many. It was a pleasure to be in her company. I will always treasure her hospitality.
    May she Rest In Peace.

    Inez Barras

    Inez Barras
  6. Really sorry to hear about Nan, she was a great lady. You all have an awesome support system with your amazing family. My heart is with you guys at this time, she will be missed.

    Joseph Mandola
  7. When we first moved to Hickory Creek outside of Pearland, Nita’s youngest child Kay was the same age as my oldest child Charlie. The kids hit it off right away. I was wowed by this wonderful woman who had 7 beautiful children. I remember asking her advice once and she knew all the answers. She said she felt like she was finally getting out of the woods and I felt like I was just stepping in the woods! She was my helping hand in raising my kids. I love her and all of her beautiful family. She will be so missed but never forgotten. RIP Nita…..you have certainly earned your Angel wings. Hug Ding-Ding and Patti for me!❤️❤️

    Linda Piper
  8. Anita had the gift of making everyone who was standing in front of her feel like they were special, as if they were of her own family. Those many years ago when we got to join the family for Thanksgiving will always be remembered as very special times for us. We felt like family! The best thing now is knowing that she leaves behind such awesome children and grandchildren who can carry on that gift!

    JoAnn Daugherty
  9. I will miss seeing sweet Nita at Mass, shopping, just anywhere in Pearland. An angel has made her way to Heaven.

    Suzanne E Matocha
  10. What a beautiful tribute to Aunt Nita’s life and all her loves! I am fortunate among many to call her my Aunt. My childhood memories spent with her are of fun, laughter and lots of activity! God truly blessed us all with our wonderful Freitag heritage beginning with our grandparents and continuing through generations of loving, caring relationships. How grateful I am for those who paved the way, set the standards high and guided me through life. God Bless our precious Aunt Nita and the beloved Ankenbruck family.

    Karen Ford Cook, niece
  11. So sorry for you loss! The Ankenbruck parents were always such a good role models. I will always remember coming to your house and always feeling welcome. So, many
    good memories. Always felt part of the family.
    I understand your heart break but she is in Heaven with her Joe and the other departed family members.
    God has blessed your family!

    You are all in our prayers.

    Pam (Kessler) Polasek
  12. Nita was an amazing wonderful person. Eventhough I only met her a couple of times at Bunco, I will never forget the love and kindness she showed me. I told her she reminded me of my mom and how I missed my mom so very much. Nita told me she could be my adopted mom. Nita shared her her love toward me, a stranger, with open arms. I never would have guessed she was 86 as she showed so much energy, and spirit. She left an imprint on my heart forever and is an inspiration for all of us. My prayers and thoughts are with the entire family. I know she will be watching them from above and in their heat always. God bless

  13. Evelyn, my deepest sympathy for your great loss of your sister. May all of you feel God’s love and peace during this difficult time. God Bless.

    Mary Louise
  14. Still have such great memories of a fun, loving schoolmate. We lived a block from each other, rode the bus together, football games, etc. Served in each other’s wedding. Oh, what fun and I’m so sad. Sending my sympathy and prayers to the family.

    Beth Ann (Small) Hughes Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    Beth Hughes
  15. Hi girls,

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your mom. It was always great seeing you when you all hosted the bromeliad after show parties. Always great desserts and always a big hug. Your mom would always say, ‘allyn I’m doing this for you’. So glad we had the party there this past may. I remember your mom said that you girls said ‘you are going to host the party and we will do all the work’. I will miss these great times that all of the bromeliad society Houston members enjoyed. thanks for everything!

    allyn pearlman
  16. WOW! The memories:Thank you God for Nita and a life time of memories: Beginning with Nita and Joe as newlyweds on Canal St. Gus and I gave them, such a hard time., all in fun
    Nita and Joe are together again. Thanks be to God.
    The fondest memories began when hey moved to Pearland. Oh My! The joys we shared; can anyone tell me how many kids we had on any given Sunday afternoon- Mercy! Everyone had four or five and the “home team” out numbered us all. Her backyard was a Garden of Eden to enjoy and room enough to serve as playground for our armies of children. God hold you in the palms of His Hands, “Little Sister”
    Lovingly, Creed

    Creed Ford Jr
  17. My deepest sympathy to Nita’s entire family.
    I was privileged to work with Nita when serving funeral meals and in other ministries at St. Helen Church.
    I enjoyed sharing recipes with her. She was a very giving and caring lady.
    Heaven has a wonderful angel looking down upon us all.
    Thoughts and prayers to the family.

    Debbie Drews

    Debbie Drews
  18. We live across the street from her sister Evelyn Harrison. I did not know Nita personally, but to hear Miss Evie talk about Nita and her children, reminded me of my family and mom. She touched many lives and we can only thank our Heavenly Father for the full life she lived. Heaven gained a beautiful gardening angel and will be missed by so many. May God Bless you all and may he lead you to peace in your hearts.

    Vicki Walker
  19. To Nita’s Children: Your mom was truly a special Angel. Her hugs, smiles and sense of compassion were genuine. I, and the Bromeliad Society of Houston, Inc., will truly miss her and our special After Show Annual Parties. Thank you for being a special family always exhibiting and sharing love with others. “RIP”

    Ruby Harlan Adams
  20. To my long time friends, Lisa and Barney. My sincere condolences and prayers for you and your family. Peace and comfort for you both during this time and celebration of her new life in heaven above.

    Sandra Vera Gonzales
  21. Nita, a friend, always made me feel part of her family. Family was the way she blessed people. Thank you Nita. Fr. Richard Smith, m.m.

    Fr. Richard Smith, m.m.

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