Rita Marie O’Connor, age 95, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 7, 2022.
Rita was born to John and Bertha (Sander) Binsfeld on December 31, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan.
From the beginning, Rita was a person of character, love, humor, and deep faith – traits instilled in her by her loving parents. Rita excelled at school and was a college graduate, a member of the choir, and a women’s ping-pong champion! She played the piano, mostly the black keys, entirely by ear. If you could hum the tune, she could play it within seconds, no lessons required. She loved to host sing-alongs, with her annual Irish parties being the highlight of the year for many. She loved art and dabbled in painting with watercolors and oils. Crossword puzzles, bridge, pinochle, monopoly, reading, Lake Huron…the list of things she enjoyed goes on. But most of all, she loved being a wife and mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and a friend to all who needed one.
She married Charles F. O’Connor on January 8, 1949. Together with her “O’kie”, they raised eleven children. Rita would say this was her greatest accomplishment. Never boasting, you’d often hear her say: “I look around and I just want to bust my buttons when I think of all these wonderful kids! Are we lucky or WOT?!”
You’ve heard the phrase “Behind every great man…”, well, if Charlie was the Leader of the Band, Rita was the rhythm section, maintaining the heartbeat of the family. She tended to every detail behind the scenes, never taking any credit or center-stage. She held the steady beat throughout all our lives, always grounded in her love of Christ. We all knew that if a decision we were making would make our mother proud, then it would surely be the right one. She had a way of building our self-confidence and she received great joy in seeing us and others succeed. Rita was revered and respected by her family and friends because of her positive outlook on life and her genuine caring attitude.
Outside of her family, she was a strong presence in the local community and Catholic church, having served in the Home Builders Association (HBA), the Daughters of Isabella, and the St. Mary Altar Rosary Society. Serving as Executive Secretary of the HBA was a source of pride and joy for her, a way of reentering into the professional world where she kept things organized and on track. Through the HBA, she gained many close friends and long-lasting relationships.
Rita was preceded in death by her parents, John and Bertha; siblings, Agnes and Jack; her beloved husband, Charlie; and grandson Colton Roberts.
Rita is survived by her children, Chuck (Gail) O’Connor, Kathleen (Jim) Crawfis, Maureen (David) Jackson, Pat (Cyndi) O’Connor, Kevin (Juley) O’Connor, Brian (Laurie) O’Connor, Terry (Cathy) O’Connor, Molly (Curt) Reppuhn, Sean (Cathy) O’Connor, Mike (Therese) O’Connor, and Dan (Sunny) O’Connor; 34 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren. Altogether, Charlie and Rita produced an extended family of over 110 extraordinary people, and the growth continues on!
Rita O’Connor was one of a kind and, no doubt has been welcomed into His kingdom and is now reunited with Charlie and many of the ole Reed Ranch gang. I’m sure they’re banging away on an upright piano and singing the old songs for all the angels to hear! We love and miss you, Rita. You made the world a better place!
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at St. Mary Cathedral, 606 N. Ohio Ave., Gaylord, MI at 11:00 a.m.
Visitation at the Nelson Funeral Home will be held Tuesday, March 15, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., and will continue at the church Wednesday beginning at 10:00 a.m.
A Rosary will be offered at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at Nelson Funeral Home by Our Lady of Grace Circle.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made TO St. Mary Cathedral Schools, or Kindred Hospice of Grand Rapids.
Arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, PO Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.