Posted by: caryandjohn | September 23, 2012

More Rita Anne’s Marin Memorial





We parked in front of Rita Anne’s house and walked up to the top of the hill to this church … Sitting in her back yard you can listen to the carillon … “What do the bells mean?” she would ask … “Mommie loves us!”, August and Charley John would answer …







Rita Anne and I were chatting a few years ago, the way siblings do, about nothing in particular … luck, good and bad, pennies–do you pick them up? Found pennies, heads-up, extra lucky? Tails-up pennies worth the effort?

“When I see a penny tails-up I turn it over so the next person can find it” she told me …

I never would have thought of doing that …

I miss my sister … a truly wonderful wife, mother, friend and person …



  1. John and Cary,

    Thank you so much for sharing these little pieces of Rita with me.

    The penny story is classic Rita. Always thinking of everyone else in her special way.

    The way she taught the kids to associate the bells from the nearby church with her love is ingenious. Once again, thinking of others in her special way. She must have given them so many other wonderful little gifts like this before she had to leave. She was an amazing mother and her love will last them a lifetime.

    I know her spirit and heart will remain inside of them forever. Although it will come out every now and then and you will see Rita in their smiles, their behaviors, their emotions. She will live on through them.

    Rita was such an inspiration to me. And for so many other people as well. You didn’t have to know her long to know she was the most genuine and selfless person you had ever met. Her compassion for others is a trait I feel I carry, but I am no match for the golden heart of Rita. I strive to be more like her every day. To see things the way she did is a special skill that only a true angel could possess. An angel who will watch over her family for an eternity.

    Rita was in a dream of mine the other night…
    I was in a church with a lot of our work-friends and we were all grieving, crying, missing Rita. She walked in wearing her Doctor’s coat with the pocket stuffed full of candy (like usual) and she had her big beautiful smile on. We looked at her and she just smiled. She gave each of us a warm loving embrace and told us it would be okay. She is okay. Her family will be okay. And she just smiled, looked us in the eyes one at a time, wrapped her arms around us and made all of us feel better. This is who she was. She wanted to comfort us. Nothing was about her. It was about everyone else.

    I only wish I had met her earlier in my life so I could spend more time with her. There is so much to learn from such an amazing person.

    Which is why I enjoy hearing these little stories from people like you, who knew her better than anyone. Thank you again for sharing.

    It was so very nice to get to meet the two of you in person yesterday at the memorial. I am not surprised at all that you are such friendly and open people who love to smile and enjoy life. Family of a such an amazing woman must be quite wonderful themselves. I am very grateful to know you and have someone to talk to about Rita.

    I hope you enjoy the bracelets and please, if anyone wants some, let me know! I have many more! May her light shine on in all of us whose lives she has touched.

    With love,


    PS- I too shall start flipping tails-up pennies over.

  2. Hi Jenean,

    I was so nice to meet you on Sunday! Cary and I are both wearing your wonderful Rita Anne Bracelets as we sit here on the couch at home … And thanks for sharing your dream, it brought Rita Anne vividly to my mind and a tear to my eye, thinking of her pocket-full of candy and her smile … it is very comforting to think that she is OK, with my mom and grandmom, and that her family will be OK … Brigid gave us a bunch of Rita Anne Bracelets that we are going to send back to Rita’s maternal aunts and uncles and cousins who all all attended her memorial in New Jersey … about 25 of them! Mom was one of ten children … and they all loved Rita, too …

    Thank you for keeping Rita Anne in your heart,
    lots of love,
    — Cary and John
    PS: I’ll have to follow your lead with the pennies, too! 🙂

  3. Hi John! I stumbled upon this looking for something about Rita and the Melanoma Research Foundation. I love the penny story… classic Rita.. I am sorry that we were not on the same coast for the memorial service but know that I thought of you while in Princeton. It was a beautiful service. Your cousin and Catherine’s eulogies were wonderful and the priest captured Rita’s energy and essence.

    I loved seeing your photos of the San Anselmo service. My brother was there and said it was beautiful. Rita and I spent a beautiful afternoon sitting on a bench up there. I know she found comfort and peace there.
    I hope that you are finding peace.. I know it is not easy, not a day goes by that I don’t think of your sister and her family. I am so glad that while I was out there I was also able to spend time with you and hope when I come out to visit Charley and the kids we can catch up then.

    Rita was a special person. I received this card from a friend that has brought me some peace:
    We are given many gifts as we go through life, some we’re allowed to enjoy for a long time, others only briefly but each gift has the power to change us, enrich us and make us better people. That was your sister.
    Love, Cindy

  4. Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for reading and posting … it is always so nice to find a comment here about Rita Anne … We were sorry to have missed you and the Princeton memorial, but enjoyed meeting and talking to your brother … Dad said the memorial in Princeton struck just the right tone … That all the eulogies made it clear what a gift we all shared in Rita Anne …Thanks for the comfort in your friend’s card … I’m sure peace will come in time … We do hope to see you and your beautiful family again, soon …
    Lots of love,
    — Cary and John

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