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.
19 comments on “Rita M. O’Connor”
Thinking of your wonderful family, been praying for your Mom. God bless you all, you are special! Sending my love, Nancy Forcier
Rest in Peace my lovely Aunt Rita. What a fulfilling and grand life you had, you’re the best there ever was!
An amazing and wonderful woman, may she rest in peace knowing her life mattered to so many.
Years ago we were in Nashville, Indiana to see, ROY CLARK, at mini oprey, with them!
So sorry for your loss. Rita was a gem and always had a smile and a kind word. She will be missed.
Stephen and Catherine Jorgensen
Dan, very sorry to hear your mom is in our prayers.
Joe and Marie
So sorry for your loss Maureen, I know how special she was to you.
Thank you, Pippa. It was so nice to see your comment here and think of our “Imagiknuts”! Your thoughts are much appreciated.
What a lovely woman she was, she had a great life. Rest in peace Rita, and may God be with your family.
She was always such a happy lady and was so nice to me. Praying for her family and friends. Rest in Jesus’ arms, Rita.
Deby, it was so, so wonderful to see you there! You took my breath away. Thank you so much for making the day a little easier with such a happy surprise. Love you, GF.
Feeling very blessed and honored to have had our “Aunt Reet” in my life for so many years. She loved all of us and made each of us feel so special. Rest in peace, Dear Aunt Reet.
Such a beautiful lady with a heart full of love. It was a gift to know her. Rest In Peace, Mrs O!
Love and prayers to the O’Connor family.
Love, Tammie (Rossman) Nichols
Tammie. You have been one of our “family” members for over 50 years. Mom always loved to hear of our yearly stops in GA to see you on our way home. Always said “give Tammie my love”. Thank you for your kind words and prayers. It all helps. Love ya GF.
So Sorry to hear about your mom’s passing! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers!
Rita was one of the Great Ones and to have known her was a great privilege. She will be missed by all knew her.
Oh, Erik, she sure did love all you RR’ers. We walked often of the shenanigans you all got into and how lucky she felt to be part of such a great bunch. She would try and imitate ‘the Colonel,’ which of course was impossible, but just know you were often a part of our many conversations.
To all The Family of Rita, this lady was one of the nicest, friendliest people. She was a friend the moment I first met her. She always had a smile and a kind word to say to everyone. Although we didn’t see much of her in the last few years we never forgot her. Rest In Peace, my friend, it was a gift to know you. Happy St Patrick’s Day from one Irish Lass to another. LOL
Rita was such a wonderful person. First time I ever met her was when I became a member of Daughters of Isabella. She always had a smile on her face and had an interest in you.