Obituary for Rita Mary Calabrese
Rita Mary Calabrese (maiden name Howlett) passed May 2019 from Alzheimer’s disease. Rita was born in March 1930 and was 89 years old. She is survived by her three children: Son Michael (Barbara Pape) Calabrese, Daughter Patricia (Brian Blome) Calabrese, and Son James (Bradley Bowden) Calabrese. She is also survived by her three grandchildren Anthony, Carravita, and Evan.
Rita grew up on the west side of Chicago in an Irish neighborhood. She graduated Loyola HS in 1948 and worked as a secretary for 7 years. She met the love of her life, Victor Calabrese, at a Sunday tea dance in 1953. They were married in 1956 and their eldest son (Michael) was born in 1957.
While raising 3 children, Rita went to college at night and earned a B.A. in Education from Northeastern University in 1971. She taught in the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago school system for over 25 years before retiring. She was always very proud of being a teacher, the iron fist with the velvet glove.
Unfortunately, in 1981, Victor passed from heart disease. They were married 25 years and Rita survived an additional 37 years after his passing.
After Vic passed, Rita learned to enjoy life with family and friends as a widow. She enjoyed ballroom dancing, socializing with friends, arts & crafts, family gatherings, and ‘hanging’ with her kids. She took several trips to Europe and vacations to Florida with her beloved friend Frank Morrison.
In 2006, Rita was diagnosed with ALZ. She was fortunate enough to live at Belmont Village, an assisted living community that specializes in ALZ, for the past 8 years as her health deteriorated. They took wonderful care of her until her passing.
Thanks to Jim, the family has wonderful videos and memories of Rita they will cherish forever. Rita loved her kids unconditionally and protected and encouraged them. She was a pragmatic, fun-loving, spiritual woman who her children greatly admired. She knew the importance of family, love, & laughter. We will miss you Rita…. THANK YOU does not begin to express our gratitude. We were truly blessed to have you as our mother. Rest in Peace with Vic….we love you both!
In lieu of flowers, there is link to an ALZ charity that focuses on research: