Rita L. Lively (ńee Sheridan) passed away peacefully August 8, 2020 at her home in Colrain.
Rita was born January 2, 1917 in St. Sebastien, Quebec, Canada. She was the fifth of twelve children and is the oldest surviving sibling of the family. Rita became a bi-lingual teacher (French and English) and taught in a one-room schoolhouse when she began her career. Though she grew up on a farm in St. Sebastien, she much preferred the world of education.
On a trip to visit a cousin in Colrain, MA, Rita met her future husband, Alphonse Lively. They married with a big wedding in St. Sebastien at the farm and then Rita moved to Colrain in 1948. Alphonse had built her a house on the Lively farm (Lively Lane) and there they raised four children...Carol (married Juan Lujan), Richard ( married Aileen Scabich, Roger and Joan ( married Bruce Sutherland - deceased). Rita and Alphonse have four grandchildren...Melissa, Sam, Katie and Kyle.
A homemaker for her family, Rita enjoyed cooking, especially baking cookies for family and visitors. Her chocolate chip cookies were famous and they were always available. Her carrot cake was also special - all homemade and mixed with an egg beater as recalls one of her friends. She was a member of St. Joseph Parish since 1948 (and eldest living parishioner) as well as a member of the Women' Sodality and participant in many church events. She enjoyed traveling. Rita and Alphonse made a special camping trip to Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon. They also traveled to Colorado and Minnesota to visit family members. Rita later participated in trips to Florida, Washington DC and Virginia as well as closer to home. As a member of the Seniors, she was an avid and regular Bingo player. Rita also enjoyed home card games and board games with Bon Homme ( Parcheesi) and "Pennies" being two of her favorites. Though Rita did not usually assist with the Lively dairy operations, she did help with maple sugaring...often boiling the sap. She had an excellent hand for making maple sugar candy and taught several members of the younger generation the finer points of maple candy making.
Rita enjoyed sitting on her screened in porch, watching for bluebirds and visiting neighbors. She was a knitter...making scarves and mittens for family members and to donate. She enjoyed reading....mostly biographies. She and Alphonse were always welcoming to friends of her children who turned up at the farm for a visit from various countries around the globe. Many returned in later years with their own families to say hello. One of their closest friends...and considered a family member, is from India and her parents and family were always welcome visitors at the farm. Despite being "home" for most of her life...Rita touched a lot of lives and is fondly remembered and loved. Her many interactions are still treasured and remembered.....eating ice cream and home made cookies on the porch, looking at photographs, welcoming strangers into her home, helping when help was needed.
Rita was born just prior to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and lived through six months of the 2020 Covid Pandemic...unusual bookends to her long life. Her time on Lively Lane was filled with the usual day to day challenges and with family, friends, good times and bad. Rita always had a little smile, and, when asked.....said she felt " pretty good". She never lost her Canadian accent, spoke French and English fluently throughout her life, believed in getting a good education and thought most problems could be solved with a few homemade chocolate cookies and a sympathetic ear.
The family wishes to recognize and thank Suzette Millwood, Darlene Smith-Savoie, Cynthia Slattery and the many nurses and aides of Pioneer Valley Hospice for their outstanding care and attention to Rita. Please know it is much appreciated by all of us.
There are no calling hours. A funeral Mass for immediate family only will be held. Interment will be at the West Branch Cemetery in Colrain following the Mass. It is requested that no flowers be sent. Donations may be made to St. Joseph Parish, 34 Monroe Ave., Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.
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