Meet the woman who has worked at every bank in Chase County
By Eduardo Castillo
Rita Spinden will be 75 in October with no plans of slowing down. She will remain the bookkeeper for Symphony in the Flint Hills for as long as her health allows.
Spinden is a familiar face in the area. In 75 years she has carved out a long and winding history in the area, accomplishing a pretty impressive feat: Spinden has worked at worked at every bank in Chase County.
Spinden grew up in the southwestern part of Chase county. Most of her relatives were in Marion County, where Spinden attended school.
She volunteered at the first Symphony in the Flint Hills signature event under the cookies and refreshments tent in 2005. It was an extremely hot day, and Spinden was asked to shadow the former bookkeeper
“He wanted someone to double-check his figures, so I did that,” she recalled. She became a paid member of the staff in August 2016.
Spinden’s key responsibilities include keeping track of the finances, making deposits, writing checks, taking care of insurance and collecting all receipts. Her most fond aspects of the job are working with both numbers on the page and the people she comes in contact with each day.
“We have a very relaxed atmosphere, and that makes it fun. Working with the insurance makes me a bit nervous because there are so many fine points and things that you have to check on,” Spinden said.
“She is very community and civic-minded,” said Kelly Tastove, donor relations manager for the Symphony in the Flint Hills. “Rita has spent most of life spent most of her life here in the beautiful Flint Hills, raised her family here and watched her grandkids grow up here. Symphony in the Flint Hills is just lucky to be a part of her prairie adventure.”
Spinden is not solely responsible for the entire financial side of the operation. For that role she has assistance from the organization’s executive director; Leslie Vanholten will replace Christy Davis as director July 1.
Spinden said one of the difficult parts of her job is getting people to turn in receipts.
“I am a black and white person. It’s not necessarily a fond memory, but it’s something that is on top.
“Everything is pretty casual,” she said. “We’re open from 8 to 5, but if we get here at 8:15 a.m., that’s OK. We’re in a small town, so there’s not too many people walking the streets at 8 o’clock in the morning.”