The Growing Tree
Autobiography

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Mother Rita Marineau Born May 29, 1920-Deceased June 19, 2001
Father Alfred Richer-Born Jan. 12, 1920-Deceased Dec. 21, 1944
Jacqueline Marie (Richer) St. Hilaire
Born May 23, 1942 Manchester, NH
Brother Edward born Jan. 5, 1945
Mother Rita remarried April 22, 1946 to Marcel Lesmerises
Step-Dad Marcel Joseph Lesmerises-Born July 8, 1920-Deceased Oct. 22, 1973
Brother Gerald born Jan. 10, 1947-Deceased Nov.5, 2003
Brother Donald born July 2, 1948
Sister Suzanne born July 29, 1950
Sister Constance born June 21, 1956
Sister Judith born Nov. 24, 1957
Brother Robert born April 19, 1961
Married August 12, 1961 to Richard St.Hilaire-Born Nov. 6, 1940
Mother Odelie Michel Born April 15, 1896-Deceased Oct. 23, 1960
Father Wilfrid St. Hilaire Born July 16, 1896-Deceased Oct. 1, 1970
Daughter Donna Marie born June 9, 1963- Married June 1, 1991 to David DesRuisseaux
Granddaughter Rachel born Sept. 25, 1995
Grandson Ryan born March 24, 1997
Grandson Eric born October 22, 2002
Daughter Joanne born Oct. 28, 1964-Married August 8, 1987 to Michael Towle
Grandson Jacob born March 5, 1997
Granddaughter Mikayla born Sept. 29, 2000
Grandson Caleb born March 5, 2003
Daughter Lisa born July 25, 1972-Married to Dennis Weiners-October 11, 2003
Grandson Alec born November 3, 2005


My mother Rita and father Alfred married in 1941 on Labor Day. They were both 21 years old from French-Canadian descent, genealogy search to the 1600's. My mother's father Alfred was a farmer and carpenter, her mother Marie(Beland) a homemaker. They had 4 children. My father's father Edouard worked in shoe shops and his mother Evangeline(Boisvert) a homemaker. By the time my grandmother Evangeline was 30 years old she had born 8 children.

Both families were devote Catholics. In combining both immediate families there were 3 religious and 1 priest. My father Alfred, also went to a seminary in Canada and proceeded to Boneventure College to study philosophy. He was sponsored by his uncle Wilfrid Richer also a priest. Realizing that this was not his vocation he left his studies, came back to NH, found a trade that was profitable and worked as a meat cutter.

Both my parents were raised in a very caring environment with good work ethics and many siblings to share their time. They were both educated in Catholic schools and high school graduates. Family life was the #1 priority as was religion, work, school. Bicycles were the main transportation, not many had cars, walking was the way to get to places and sometimes buses. No TV's, radio, playing games and sports with friends everyday was the norm. Lots of swimming in the summer, ice skating and sledding in the winter.

My mother and father married after a few years of courting and I was a honeymoon baby. In 1941 war was declared and my father tried to enlist in the Army but was declined twice. As the war accelerated more people were drafted and my father got his papers in Nov. 1943. After basic training and before he was shipped overseas, he spent a few days with my mother in NY in April of 1944. He came home on furlow in June and that was to be the last time anyone saw him alive.

He fought many battles, received several awards but died at the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 21, 1944, he was 23 years old, I was 2 1/2 and my mother was ready to give birth to my brother, Edward. (See the last letter he wrote to his mother and father in my Peace & Justice page).

The dreadful telegram came the night my mother left for the hospital to deliver their second child but the telegram was intercepted by her father. Our family lived on the 3rd floor apartment that my grandparents Alfred and Marie owned. All papers and radios were removed from her sight and visitors were cautioned not to speak about the incident until her doctor gave permission. She received the news from Uncle Wilfrid, a few days after giving birth. When my mother was well enough they had a memorial service for my father but the body was buried in Belgium.

Around that same time a young marine (Marcel) fighting in the Pacific had heard the news about my father. Marcel and my mother had previously dated and he told his comrades " When I go back to the states, I'm going to marry a widow with 2 children". True to his words he married my mother on April 22, 1946. I was 4 years old but really don't remember any of these events.

Marcel and Rita had a son. Gerald on Jan. 10, 1947 and when she was pregnant with my brother Donald (born July 2, 1948), my parents received the news that my father's parents were having their son Alfred's' body shipped back to the US. What must have gone through my parents mind, this had to be devastating news to go through all this again and pregnant with another's man's child.

My father's body was the first one to come back to NH and it made the headlines in the newspaper. A 3 -day wake and a full military funeral once again but this time with his parents in the front rows. Our family was placed in back of the parents and siblings. It had to be hard on all sides of the family for the parents to make this decision. My grandmother Evangeline was a very wise woman and I'm sure she weighed all the possibilities but her heart won over and my father Alfred was buried in the family plot where he now rests with his parents, his grandparents, his brother Maurice and his Uncle Wilfrid. "May they all rest in the peace of the Risen Christ".

In 1950 my parents built a home, a nice 4 bedroom cape and we were living a very comfortable lifestyle. By 1957 I had 5 more siblings, a total of 7 children, in this close knit family. These were the best of times, I had lots of friends, nice home, nice car, a part time job after school, I had good grades in high school, a boyfriend, went to dances, parties, I was on top of the world. My mom, was a stay at home mom, my dad a fireman and he also did some construction work on the side.

In 1958 we went on a family vacation to Florida. My parents had gone the winter before. When we came back it was decided that we were moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I was devastated, leaving my boyfriend (Dick), all my friends, my school and our nice house and neighborhood. We arrived in October and I started my Junior year at Central Catholic High School (now St. Thomas Aquinas High School) graduated in the Class of 1960. We wore uniforms, so you wouldn't be able to distinguish the rich from the not so well off. Well, it just didn't work, many were from very well to do families, and nobody from a family of nine people. I really did not feel very comfortable at this school. I did have a few people who reached out to me, thank God and they were nice enough but I still was not comfortable with this new group. It just was not my lifestyle. We were a down to earth kind of family and somehow we ended up living in this beautiful community park that was a little beyond our living standards. My folks had gotten a real good deal on the house, because the people were anxious to get back north. The house had 2 bathrooms all ceramic tile, 3 bedrooms, a large living room, Florida room with jalousie windows and beautiful pink kitchen with matching appliances and a mud room and carport. It was luxurious but my parents couldn't really afford to buy all the furniture that this house needed and to this day I don't think this was the best place for our family.

Nevertheless, I finished high school, grades dropped from A's & B's to C's. I wasn't much interested in school, I missed my boyfriend (Dick) and all my other friends and relatives. I started business college but this wasn't that exciting and my parent's told me I could go back to NH if I wanted. I left Florida in October 1960, I was 18 years old and my mom was pregnant. I felt awful leaving everyone, especially mom but NH looked awfully good to me at this time. I had made plans to leave by train because I had a fear of flying. Dick was suppose to meet me in Boston but he never called me to confirm that he would be picking me up and I was a little annoyed and decided to call him. I was in for devastating news, Dick's mom had passed away unexpectedly and the funeral was to be the morning after I got to NH. My Uncle Ben asked one of his friends to pick me up in Boston. It was a very unpleasant trip, with switching trains in New York's Grand Central Station with my Hi-fi record player in hand. I got to NH after the wake was over and Dick came to see me at Uncle Ben's where I was staying. This was a very intimate moment for us, we hadn't seen one another for a few months and his mother, dead at the age of 63.

After the funeral etc., I stayed with Dick's brother Armand and his family. Later I found a job as a dental assistant and a few months after moved on the 3rd floor apartment that my grandmother owned and sublet it from my great aunt Laura.

Dick and I were married August 12, 1961. This day is the same day that the Berlin Wall was built. On our ride home from our honeymoon, we found out that Dick was going to be activated in the Air National Guards. This meant he would not be able to hold down his meat cutting job. I got pregnant right away and on Easter 1962, being only 7 months pregnant I gave birth to Linda who was stillborn. It was a grueling experience, not knowing what was going on, I was only 19 and things happened so fast, I didn't really take much time to mourn. In a way it was a blessing because she was born deformed and also a few months later I had to have an emergency appendectomy. I did get pregnant soon afterwards and delivered a perfectly healthy beautiful baby girl named Donna on June 9, 1963.

A few months later on Dec. 8th, I miscarried and almost hemorrhaged to death, we called my sister Sue and poor her she was a bit scared with all the commotion and the trail of blood that I left behind. To this day I truly believe that Mary on the feast of The Immaculate Conception interceded for me and my family and brought me back to full recovery.

On March 10, 1964, my beloved grandmother Marineau died after much suffering. She had diabetes and already had one leg amputated and had had surgery on her remaining leg but died of a heart attack. Memere Marineau was a very docile woman with a nature of warmth and long suffering. She was easy going and not much bothered her, she was at peace with herself and accepted her illness in a very redemptive manner. At that time I was having some female complications and a few days after the funeral I went into the hospital for a D&C. When I woke up, I was told that I was 3 months pregnant and needed to take hormone shots and bed rest. I was in shock, complete bed rest and a toddler in the house. I did manage to take the doctors advice and thanks be to God, delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl on Oct. 28, 1964 and we named her Joanne.

I had 2 more miscarriages after this and lo and behold in 1972 I was pregnant again and delivered our beautiful, Lisa on July 25, 1972 with no complications. Our family was complete.

The 60's were very difficult years for me emotionally and physically. If I wasn't pregnant, I was dieting, my metabolism was and still is to this day a mess. I am still having a hard time with my weight and have been on so many diets that I have come to the conclusion that there is more to life than dieting. I have put dieting on the back burner and I'm trying to concentrate on my inner self because I firmly believe that is where the answer is to living a holistic life. Diets don't work unless you are forever working at it and then it becomes an obsession, that's all you think about and you are even afraid to eat, especially with others, except maybe your immediate family but even then you are thinking what are they thinking of your food choices etc. It's a tangled web. Our society is so weight conscious that we forget to look for the deeper meaning of our reality and to continue this viscious cycle will kill the spirit. I pray to do the best I can with each day and to concentrate on the goodness of my being. God doesn't make junk. Just junk food, just kidding....

In the 60's I was a stay at home mom and worked partime at night and some weekends and Dick was and still is a meat cutter just like my father Alfred and dad Marcel. History does seem to repeat itself.

In October 1973 my dad Marcel died of cardiac arrest after years of abusing alcohol and prescribed drugs. He was 53. In 1972 he received a full medical disability from the government because his doctors gave proof that his mental disability was caused by post war trauma. This is certainly one of the major causes, no person can ever be the same after engaging in war and killing another human being. I was 30 years old and lost 2 fathers to this war. At the time of my dad's death, he was separated from my mom. His drinking and abuse caused her to ask him to leave. This was a very difficult time for the family especially for my mom and my teenage sisters, Connie & Judy and brother Bob who was 12. My dad and I were not speaking to each other because I had been the person my mom reached out to for help and we took her away so she could find the strength to go through these terrible times. So at the time of his death we were not in relationship. I can still remember at his wake thinking to myself "why wasn't his family enough for him to want to go on living" "why did he attempt suicide" why? why?

In 1974 Dick and I after much coaxing from my end experienced a Marriage Encounter Weekend. We had been married 13 years. This was an intense 44 hr. weekend with a team of 3 married couples and a priest. We heard talks, dialogued with each other in the privacy of our rooms and became reacquainted with our deeper selves, one another and our Church. It is hard to put into words what this weekend meant to us both, but it changed our reality and gave Dick and I a new direction. I have to admit that before this time, we were pretty much living a materialistic lifestyle and didn't really think much of other people's needs besides our children and immediate family. We did give much support to my side of the family, when my dad and mom were going through some terrible times. I guess we did the best we could with what we knew at the time. But this experience opened many horizons, many challenges, many needs in this global world we lived in, we wanted our family to be part of making a difference, to make this world a better place for us and for all humankind.

On the Friday following the Marriage Encounter weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I put our 2 year Lisa down for a nap and still being tired from the week following our experience, I took a nap around 1:30 in the afternoon before going to work at 5:30 PM. Before falling asleep I asked myself why my step-dad Marcel (who died in October 1973) was so disillusioned with life and gave up on himself and the ones who loved him.? At precisely 2:55 PM, 5 minutes before Donna and Joanne were scheduled to get home from school, I had the following experience. The answer came from deep deep inside of me My dad was hurting because no one chose to understand and listen to his feelings, his believes, his thoughts, no one really gave to him the understanding that he needed. Also within me the awareness that hurt is a very self-centered emotion and if you let go of hurt, love can grow again. Seconds after this knowledge came to me, I experienced a great love from my step-dad Marcel (died in 1973), followed by the same great love from my father Alfred (died in 1944) and than a tremendous overwhelming love from God, my Father. Arms enveloping me all three together as one being.

Having been terribly afraid of death and not believing that I was good enough to receive eternal life, this experience gave me the answer to the question of life after life. At that same moment I was lifted above the couch, saw my non-moving body on the couch, saw my funeral procession with my children, husband and tried to get up from the couch and could not until I truly believed that if I let go of my self-centeredness I would be free. I immediately remembered that Lisa was napping and told myself that I needed to come back to take care of her. I came to just enough to notice that it was 2:55p m. When Donna and Joanne came home I was overwhelmed, my uncle Fern, unexpectedly came to see me, and I explained what happened, he told me that he had had a similar experience. Hearing him tell his story helped a little but after he left I called Dick and told him I was dying and to come straight home.

It took many years and numerous other dream-vision experiences for me to settle in a routine again with my family. Crossing over to the other side is very overwhelming, I am not the same person, my values, beliefs were almost turned upside down. Much that was important to me before took a different place in my life, like keeping the house spic and span, I was a bit of a neat freak but that took a back seat. My relationships took more meaning, especially my husband, children, my mom. I didnt care as much about what would people say if my house wasnt up to par, or if I didnt have the latest fashions or car. Owning a house wasnt that important and keeping up with the neighbors etc.

Dick and I took more risks and in 1975 bought a religious bookstore and turned it into a pretty nice bookstore that grew leaps and bounds. Even after we second mortgaged our home it was a chance that we wanted to take to keep the bookstore open. Unfortunately, we closed the bookstore in 1989 after 14 years because we just didnt have the capital to keep on going.

The 14 years were filled with much work, challenges and many friendships. It brought our family close, we all worked together and shared many stories. We miss this the most but the stress of it all, the unknowing of what was to become of it all, our family, our jobs, the economy, it was just too much of an undertaking, the numerous debts that we incurred, we held on too tight and too long. We became disillusioned, hurt and somewhat withdrawn. We gave of our substance and it that was not enough. For the last 12 years we have been going through a healing process, we try to let go of the hurt, the failure but it comes back, not as strong but still there in the depths of our beings. We share our story with close friends and this is comforting, sometimes we take 2 steps forward, and sometimes 1 step backward but we try to stay on the journey and not give in to hopelessness. We are slowly coming back to the realization that we can still make a difference, even if it's just smiling, listening and being there when needed.

During the family business years Dick experience some physical setbacks. In 1981 at the age of 41 Dick had a devastating heart attack the week of Donna's high school graduation. We were very lucky that he survived and he had a good outlook on life and was determined to jump back into work. Just before Christmas he experienced another smaller attack and in Jan. 1982 he had a triple by-pass. This was a fairly new procedure and the team of 6 doctors at Dartmouth Medical were wonderful. He recovered quickly and came back to the bookstore part time. I stopped smoking in 1981, never to touch another cigarette again.
After going to the classes with Dick, that was first on the list of heart attacks.

In 1993 Dick had recurring angina and they did another bypass this time redoing the 3 plus 2 others. The doctors explained that after 11 1/2 years, Dick had been pretty lucky. This time he was 53, it took a little more time to recover, but he is a trooper and never got depressed and rose above it all once again. He certainly had much faith in the team of doctors and nurses to get him through and his positive attitude and family by his side was a big factor in promoting healing.

In 1995 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. On a routine mammogram a small pea size lesion was seen and my doctor didn't think it would be malignant but 2 days after my 53rd birthday I found out that I would need a lumpectomy or mastectomy and probably radiation and chemo. I chose the lumpectomy and they also removed 19 lymph nodes and 2 were positive, so I had to have chemo and radiation. Breast cancer is not in my family history. Being the first one on both sides of the family has made everyone aware that this is a possibility. I joined a breast cancer support group and realized that this disease can hit young woman in their 20's and 30's. I have heard many many sad stories at these meetings. Some have lost their jobs, their husbands have left them. Some have to leave their children with family while they are going through therapy because they are so sick. Myself, I was able to keep on working through it all. Some fatigue and heartburn and nausea but I had just started a new job and didn't want to take too much time off. When I had used up all my sick time, my co-workers got together and gave me a total of 25 more sick days from their own time. I was very fortunate to have the support from my husband, children, family, friends and co-workers. I work as a support person in youth ministry office of the Diocese of Manchester, so I had more than my share of prayers, flowers and good wishes. I was told that my job would always be there no matter how much time off I had to take. This is very affirming and certainly helped my recovery. I am not out of the woods yet, I have had a total of 4 lumpectomies. All my mammograms are very hard to read and it is very stressful to have to wait all this out, the doctors are always concerned when they are reading my reports and are careful not to misinterpret. I am a 6 year breast cancer survivor but I think about it almost everyday that the next time could be malignant again and of course it could also metastasize in other areas, that is never far away from my thinking. People think that I am brave and that I have a lot of faith but I am a firm believer that grace is given to you at the moment that you need it if you are willing to let go and let it in. I know the Risen Christ will lead me through the shadow of death. He has gone before me to prepare a place. A new heaven, where I will be with the people I love.

2COR 5:17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

JN 14:2 In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

JN 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.

On September 25, 1995, our daughter Donna delivered our first grandchild, and she was named Rachel. What a delight to have some good enter my life once again. I was still on chemo and I remember entering the hospital to visit our new granddaughter and women in my breast support group entered the elevator. I was so thrilled to tell them that tonight I was visiting my new granddaughter and not going to the support group. I would like to share some thoughts on the suppport group that I belonged to at that time. Most of the time, it was a bit overwhelming to hear all these stories,I sometimes felt uneasy and judged that my condition was not as serious as the others. They seemed to have gone through much more, losing their hair, not being able to work, having to leave their children with others, during recovery. Some were much younger, in their 20's-30's, husband's and boy friends left them, some employees were jealous of all the time they spent at appointments (and there are many appointments, oncologist, radiologist, primary doctor, surgeons and tests, tests, tests.) You really start losing your identity, it seems the medical profession takes over your life and you are not the captain of your ship. I struggled with this and decided after six months of support group I had to get back to reality of living my life. Don't get me wrong, it was very well worth attending but after awhile it was depressing, especially listening to some women who had recurring breast cancer after 5, 10 years. Some of them their 3rd recurrences. I was not ready to hear this sort of sharing it was too soon to deal with these possibilities.

In March of 1997 Joanne and Donna delivered beautiful boys, Jacob and Ryan born 19 days apart. So, Dick and I finally had some boys to spend our energies on. They are such a delight. It's wonderful to see both of them playing and communicating with each other. I truly hope that they will stay close and grow together. It is so important to keep family ties, to keep them strong and to be there for one another. Dick and I do quite a bit of babysitting, it is wonderful and it really gives you a good perspective on life. To be given the chance to get involved in their lives is a wonderful gift that I cherish. One of my favorite quotes these days is: "Grandchildren are God's way of giving you a second chance".

At this same time in March of 1997, my mom, Rita was having some difficulties with her medicines and she spent 1 month in the hospital being evaluated. It was hard to see mom go through the tests, at times she was a bit reluctant about the whole process but she was a trouper and the doctor was able to adjust all her medications and she was sent home. Luckily she lives upstairs from my sister Judy, so she was able to go home with no problems. Judy saw to it that she took the proper medicines. My mom, who will turn 81 in May of 2001, is doing pretty good these days, except for her legs hurting, and not being as fast as before (who is?) she still gets around by using a cane to walk. She bought herself a computer in December of 1999 and she likes it. With a little bit of training she will be able to enjoy the full benefits of email, internet, games etc. I think it's great that she has found something to do with her time. I would love to have some of that time to do stuff on my computer.

My sister Judy and her family are in the process of adopting a baby from China. This is quite a venture and alot of "red tape". The Chinese government does not make it easy for anyone to adopt. It's double jeopardy the way these children are victimized. Not only are they abandoned by their mother, their government holds all the power. There are so many who want to adopt, why do they make it so complicated? Judy, Tom, Matthew and Katie, you have our prayers and support, God bless all of you as you await the news of your new sister/brother.
Adopted from China came to us on Christmas Day 2000.
Marie Jeannine Robert
Born in China on Dec. 25, 1999

Adopted from Vietnam came to us in August 2001.
Camille Mai Robert
Born in Vietnam on Dec. 13, 2000


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Rita's Legacy

Please click above to get to Rita's website

June 17, 2001
Mom's hospital room 204-All for You!
"Fear not, for I am with you and bless you." Genesis 26:24

I Let Go and Let God (plaque in Mom's room)

If you ever let thoughts of weakness, illness or limitation in the front door of your mind, let them pass out the back door quickly...let go and let God.


Let go. If negative thoughts are allowed to linger, they can become embedded so that they close out good thoughts. How much better it is to let go unwanted thoughts and experiences.


Let God, your mind is a fit setting for thoughts of wonder and appreciation for all the beauty in the world and for all the good that God is bringing forth into your life, body and affairs.


Let go and let God. Your peaceful mind is your meeting ground with God. How precious are these moments of sweet communion. By letting go and letting God...

You can keep this ground holy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2001
Mom's passing on to New Life 1920-2001

SHALOM

Mom's last day with us.

6:30 am Oxygen 70-Pulse 170-Morphine 12cc-Breathing is short, shallow


6:45 am New banana bag-Morphine boost


8:00 am Doctor Botsford, Mom is in the dying process, will possibly die today or Wednesday-Colonization, contagious, wash, scrub.


9:00 am Tina Legere co-ordinator of ethics committee. They will meet at 1 pm


11:00 am Scripture readings with Aunt Madeleine, Susie & Jackie.


HABAKKUK Chapter 2: 1-3


I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon the rampart,
And keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what answer he will give to my complaint.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision
Clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
HABAKKUK Chapter 3: 19
GOD, my Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet swift as those of hinds
and enables me to go upon the heights.
For the leader; with stringed instruments

1:00 pm Ethics committee meeting. Dr. Botsford was cleared of any wrong doing. Doctors Hook & Tenn are under review.

4:00 pm Pulse 160-Feet are cooling down. Hands are cooling down but not as fast.

5:00 pm Pulse 100-Sarah the night nurse says that mom won't last the night.

5:15 pm Pulse 60

Singing " Peace is Flowing Like a River".

Stroking her arm and holding her left hand, Judy holding mom's right hand.

5:25 pm New Life

Those present at the time of mom's passing:

Susie, Judy, Katie, Don, Jackie, Donna, Dick, Jackie and Dr. Shea.







RITA'S LEGACY
Jesus said to his disciples: "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be."

And Rita is saying today : "I am here preparing a place for you."

Our mom Rita began her faith journey at Sainte Marie's Parish when she was baptized to new life in May of 1920.

Between the years 1920 to 2001, she traveled to other parishes but her heart was here at Sainte Marie's, where since 1986 she has been, maybe not always physically present but here in spirit. Thank you Fr. Marc and the staff at Sainte Marie's for your presence.

Our mom, Rita has lived a full life, with many challenges.

Rita was the first born child of Alfred and Marie Girard Marineau. 3 other children, Madeline, Ben and Florence became part of this faith filled family. Alfred was a carpenter and a very disciplined and fervent Catholic. Marie, a very gentle soul was a homemaker, who before her marriage at 30 years of age worked in the Amoskeag millyard.

Aunt Madeline, thank you for all the visits, phone calls and take out meals you shared with our mom.

Uncle Ben, thank you for driving mom to many of her appointments, for fixing all the little things in the apartment that needed attention and faithfully bringing mom the Eucharist.

Aunt Florence, thank you for your continued prayers, the vacation days that you spent with mom and the pampering that you gave her when you visited.


Rita attended St. Marie schools for 12 years and graduated in 1939. There were 9 graduates.

On Labor Day 1941 she married Alfred Richer, son of Edouard and Evangeline Boisvert Richer. Alfred was a meat cutter and Rita after giving birth to their first child, Jacqueline in May of 1942 stayed at home. These were turbulent times in America and WWII was on everyones mind. In July of 1943 Alfred was drafted. He enlisted in the Army and was in the 30th division. He was sent to Europe in June of 1944. He fought many battles and achieved many awards. At this time Rita was expecting their 2nd child in January. Alfred was not to see this child, he was missing in action on Dec. 21st at the height of the Battle of the Bulge. Her father intercepted the telegram the evening Rita went to the hospital to give birth, the 2nd telegram of his death was received on the day Edward was born but the news was kept from Rita until the doctors gave permission.

Around that same time a young marine (Marcel) Lesmerises who was fighting in the South Pacific had heard the news about my father. Marcel and Rita had previously dated and he told his comrades " When I get back to the states, I'm going to marry a widow with 2 children". True to his words he married Rita on April 22, 1946. This began Ritas second family, the first son Gerald born in 1947, Donald in 1948, Suzanne in 1950, Connie in 1956, Judy in 1957 and Bob born in Florida in 1961 . Rita and her family were living a good life in the 50s and decided to try an adventure and they moved the family to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, They stayed in Florida from 1958-1963.

In June of 1963 Rita, first grandchild, Donna was born and this event began to give her the longing to come back to NH, which they did in August of that year. Returning and re-starting their life in NH was to be a difficult time, Marcel had previously been a fireman in Manchester but was now over the age limit to be re-employed, he was 43. He returned to meat cutting but was not happy with the way things had turned out. The next 10 years were very difficult times for the family. During this time the family was growing and other grandchildren came into their life, Joanne, Pamela, Heather, Gerry Jr., Dawn, Lisa, Tina.

In 1972 Marcel received a full medical disability from the government because his doctors gave proof that his mental disability was caused by post war trauma. In October 1973 without any warnings Rita brought Marcel to the VA hospital to be treated for a flu and Marcel passed away within hours of being admitted, he was 53. Three children were left at home, Connie, Judy and Bob, who was only 12. At 53 Rita was a widow for the second time. Rita struggled with the raising of 3 children and her finances and took a part time job at Deerfield Market.

In 1974 Rita experienced the power of the Risen Christ when she made her Cursillo. She became part of St. Georges Prayer Group and was in charge of the book ministry, which she loved and she was very devoted to the people. Also during the years 1975-1989 she worked at our family bookstore the Messenger Book Shop and loved every minute of it. She was fond of saying: "I finally am able to use all the things I learnt in school".

More grandchildren filled her life, Michael, Brent, Jennifer, Angela, Jamie, Johnny, Misty, Nicole, Holly, Matthew, Katie. And then the first great grandchild, Christina.

In 1986 Rita moved back to Sainte Marie Parish and lived on Dubuque Street on the second floor apartment building that Judy and Tom own.. She was very happy and grateful to have the comfort of being part of their life. She considered this a blessing to be able to live on her own and not have to consider alternative living in nursing homes etc.

More great grandchildren during these years filled her bookcases with pictures. Nicole, Rachel, Nicholas, Jacob, Ryan, Samantha, Olivia, Emma, Mikayla and Madison born on April 28 of this year.

But in between the births of her great grandchildren came another grandchild, Marie who came to the family last Christmas Eve, adopted from China by Judy and Tom. Marie turned 1 year of age on Christmas Day.

At the time of her passing Rita has 8 children, 20 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and the Lord says: "Be fruitful and multiply".

This is the legacy that Rita has given us, her faith, her kindness, her steadfastness and finally but most importantly her love.......




June 22, 2001 Mom's funeral Mass-Sainte Marie's Church

Pall Bearers
Gerry Jr.
Jamie
Johnny
Matthew
Mike
Dave
Celebrant: Fr. Marc Montminy
Organist: Vivian Lesmerises Vago
Soloist: Gloria Simard Pion

Prelude: Peace is Flowing Like a River
Entrance: For You Are My God
Offertory: We Are Grateful
Communion: I Am the Bread of Life
Meditation: All I Ask of You
Procession: Pilgrim's Chorus

A reading from the book of Wisdom 3: 1-6, 9
Reader: Lorraine Ducas

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace,
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

The Word of the Lord.


A reading from the book of Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7
Reader: Jeanne Stamant

I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, Gods dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.
The one who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. A am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.

The Word of the Lord.


A reading from the holy gospel according to John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:
Do not let your hearts be troubled, You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Fathers house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way. Thomas said to him, Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?
Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Petitions: Lillian Marineau



Burial in Mount Cavalry Cemetary

Poem written and read by
Steve Russell

THE GATHERING

From near and far they came hearing of her pain
To bring their love and devotion
they gathered 'round her

Brother and sisters, sons and daughters
Grandchildren and great-grandchildren too
they gathered 'round her

A teacher of love and caring
her lessons etched into their lives

All those she touched were given a priceless gift
and now they gathered 'round her

They laid their heads upon her bed
their grief spilling onto the blankets

They held hands and spoke their truths
hoping she could hear them

Her heart beat fiercely-a fire lit long ago
the glow of which held back the darkness
for those gathered 'round her

They went on journeys deep into their souls
huddled in blankets-draped across chairs
they shared stories old

Gracing her with their laughter
Anointing her with their grief
they prayed for ther peaceful end
while desperately hoping for recovery

And now the season of light was upon them
and her life which had put so much light
into the world was waning

The sisters sang in ancestral tongue
soothing her to sleep

And the last day passed while they gathered 'round her



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My First Christmas in Heaven

Katie's Confirmation 2004

Best Christmas when I was little


I'm a stay-at-home mom and we were posting this morning about the best Christmas we had when we were little. I'm not sure if I remember all the facts right, or who got what gifts, or even my exact age, but below is my post about the best Christmas that I remember as a child.

One that I will always remember, was when I was about 9 yrs. old (no longer believing in Santa), we were a family of 10 (8 children), I was 2nd to last. Some older siblings were working full or part-time. My dad was out of work on disability (severe depression as well), I knew my parents didn't have any extra money, things were really tight at our house. Most of the Christmas' we had was one or two gifts per child.
Well, one of my older brothers (the one that passed away last month) gave everyone the BEST Christmas ever!
He was working full-time and I guess had some extra money. When we woke up that morning there were gifts EVERYWHERE in the living room. The couch was filled top and bottom with presents as well as under the tree and behind doors. My closest sister is 18 months older than I so we usually got the same presents. We both got skis, beautiful Barbies and tons of clothes, AND he told us to close our eyes and go down into the basement. When we opened our eyes we each had a brand new "Stingray" pink bicycle with a huge red bow on it.
We couldn't believe it! He was so generous, he also gave my mom a long suede coat with a fur collar and my dad a blank check (to help with bills). What a guy!
And what a wonderful Christmas he gave us.

Thanks Gerry! Love, Judy

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In Loving Memory of Gerry & Judy

Rita & Alfred
1941-1944

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Rita & Marcel
1946-1973

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