LaRita was born August 22, 1939 on a farm in northern Iowa, located five miles south of Harmony, Minnesota, and she is the daughter of Lyle and O. Lucille Trouten. She has two older brothers, Ronald and Robert. Rita attended Webb School - a one-room country school - until entering seventh grade. She graduated with honors from Harmony High School and went on to attend Iowa State Teacher's College (now known as University of Northern Iowa).
After interviewing with several superintendents, Rita signed a contract with the Lake Mills Community School District to teach second grade, beginning with the 1958-59 school term. She thoroughly enjoyed teaching and loved working with children. While teaching in Lake Mills, she met and eventually married William (Bill) Bakken.
As a sign of the times when Rita became pregnant, she was required to turn in her resignation. She did continue to teach until February of 1963, with their first child Thomas being born the following month. Two more children were happily received into their household: Rosalie in September of 1966 and Heather in September of 1968.
Rita maintained the roles of wife, mother, and homemaker and did not work outside the home until Heather was two years old. At the time there was a shortage of elementary classes, as well as in nearly every high school subject from shop to history to chemistry. It was quite a challenge at times! After accepting a part-time position at school as a study hall monitor, Rita decided she felt more like a policewoman than a teacher. When a chance conversation with a friend revealed an opening at a local savings and loan office, Rita applied for the position and was hired as branch manager. She has retained that position through four bank mergers and continues to be employed there.
Through the years Rita has been a member of various civic and community groups and has served in many capacities. Some of these include the Lake Mills Chamber of Commerce, Lake Mills Development Group, Winnebago County Compensation Board, Lake Mills Public Library Board, Lake Mills Revolving Loan Committee Investment Club, and Salem Lutheran Church activities. Rita's greatest joys in life have been her faith in God, her husband, and extended family. She has a variety of interests including cooking and baking, reading, walking, quilting, camping, playing card games, and a love of dogs. She has truly enjoyed her position at the bank most of the time, but does look forward to retirement in 2001.