Rita Marie (Manion) DeVrieze, 78, passed away on September 18, 2021, after living a wonderful life with her family and friends.
Rita was born in Flint, Michigan and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A cherished member of the Manion family, including her parents Robert and Odelia both deceased, her sisters, Mary Roberts and Ann Hughes also deceased and her brother Bob Manion of Grosse Pointe Park, MI. Her youth included annual trips to see extended family in Wisconsin. These family reunions left a lasting impression on the importance of family which she carried with her as she raised her own family.
Upon graduating from Roosevelt High School, she attended Eastern Michigan University and graduated from Jackson Community College. As a professional administrative assistant, she worked at Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan School of Public Health, and eventually a law firm.
Rita was introduced to her future husband, Jerry DeVrieze, on a blind date. The date went well, and marriage followed on April 19, 1969. Rita and Jerry moved to Midland, MI where Jerry spent his career at Dow Chemical, and they raised their family. Rita was an adoring and supportive mom to her children Kirsten Mahony (husband Brian Mahony) of Westford, MA and Steven DeVrieze (wife Rani Dasi) of Chapel Hill, NC. She was the quintessential mom to all of Kirsten and Steven's friends too. Always the hostess with freshly baked bread and cookies, a warm inviting house, an open mind and heart, gifts for every occasion, and a great sense of humor.
Lifelong friendships were formed with the "Card Group" which included the Dolinskis, Pfeiffers, Brewbakers, Mathewsons, Hohlfelds, and Bischoffs. There are so many wonderful memories these friends had including camping trips, Christmas brunches, New Year's Eve costume parties, monthly card nights, vacations, and support for one another during the challenging times.
Rita and Jerry's adventure took them to Milan, Italy in 1980 for a three-year work assignment. These three years were filled with trips across Europe. Rita developed a passion for all things Italian including cooking, speaking, and collecting treasures of her memories there. Her favorite city was Venice where she had several "girls' weekends".
Rita was best known for her gift of hospitality, friendship, wonderful laugh, baking, love of Italy, traveling, and using her organizational skills to maintain a wonderful home. Her Catholic faith was a guiding force throughout her life, and she was an active member of Blessed Sacrament parish in Midland, Michigan.
Rita was predeceased by her beloved Jerry in 2008 after 39 years of marriage. She was the ultimate caregiver for him during his five-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.
Rita was also predeceased by brothers in law Siegfried Tracht and Ron Roberts and her nephew Michael Hughes.
Rita's legacy includes her nine grandchildren: Casey, Jack, Aidan, Caroline, Michael, Zara, Rafe, Kira, and Noah. She also leaves her wonderful nieces and nephews: Christopher, Alexandra, Elisabeth, Lore, Kyle, Andrea, Morgan, Patrick, and Heather. Her sisters-in-law Dyan, Avis, and Debbi along with brothers-in-law Don and Dom will also miss Rita.
Rita faced her final years of life with incredible grace, humor, and peace while living with Alzheimer's disease. These years were lived at RiverCourt Residences where she was a cherished member of the memory care unit in Groton, MA.
A special thanks to the many caregivers (especially her private aide Maranjelli), friends, family, and the staff at Rivercourt for their love and dedication to Rita. She would be handing out gifts, cards, and baked goods to each of you.
A funeral mass celebrating Rita's beautiful life will take place on Saturday, October 2, 2021, 10 am, at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church 107 North Main St. Westford, MA (Blessed Trinity Parish). Due to town ordinance, face coverings are required in Church. For those wishing to attend the Mass virtually a livestream link has been provided https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/4751804612
In addition, a memorial celebration and burial service will take place in spring / summer of 2022 in Michigan for Rita's Midwest family and friends.
For those wishing to express their sympathy, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association (https://www.alz.org/get-involved-now/donate) Rita's memory.