Archive for April, 2016

Rita Daly, 1917-2016, Rest in Peace

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

My mother-in-law passed away a few days ago after a long and debilitating illness. My wife wrote a fine obituary  in memory of her mother, but her sister deemed it unsuitable to publish in her local newspaper. Consequently I am posting it here:

Mrs. Rita Daly passed away on March 31st, 2016 at age 99, following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Rita was a loving wife and mother and is survived by: daughters Eileen Curtin of Anniston and Theresa James of Atlanta; grandchildren: Peter, Elizabeth, Susan, Jenny, Maureen, Kathy, Michael and Kenny, and 13 great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by husband Edward A. Daly, son Edward A. Daly Jr. and sibling Arvie Charland. Grateful thanks to her two wonderful caregivers: Kim and Barbara.

Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts of French Canadian immigrants, Rita was a healthy and active woman all of her life up until her 90’s. She grew up  and raised her family in Washington DC. She and her husband retired to Florida in the 1970’s and travelled around the world. One of her memorable trips involved flying one way on  Concorde and returning to the USA on the QE2.

After her husband’s passing in 1989, she became a volunteer for the Catholic Church in Boca Raton, Florida before moving to Anniston in 2004. Rita will be remembered for her adventurous spirit, love of family and devotion to her husband whom she will be buried next to at the Washington National Cemetery on the outskirts of Washington DC.

A few years ago I wrote a little piece about Rita to celebrate her birthday and it is reprised below:


I’ve known my mother-in-law for nearly 15 years and we have never had a cross word. Honest! Cross my heart! Several differences of opinion have occurred over a variety of topics, but these were probably the result of our language barrier. It’s also because she has an accent and I don’t.

So anyway (on of her favorite phrases,) I remember conducting her on a guided tour of 12th century castles in my homeland, South Wales, and she kindly pointed out that they had miniature ones in Canada which were much cleaner and far more accessible. It was no contest really.

We then moved onto the Cotswolds which is one of the most picturesque areas in England. It was nearing lunchtime and we headed for a local hostelry to partake in a beverage or two interspersed by questionable English cuisine. Toad-in-the-hole was available on the menu followed by a generous portion of spotted dick. I don’t recall what delicacies my mother-in-law decided upon, but she looked down in the dumps.

I asked her whether she was enjoying herself because she didn’t look very happy. She told me in no uncertain terms that you didn’t have to be hooting and hollering to have a good time. I replied that there was a happy medium for one’s actions, and she gently admonished me by saying that it seemed to be a favorite saying of mine. From that day forward she taught me how to be more tolerant of people, particularly when I was in her company.

When I met her for the first time on home soil, she remarked that her daughter always seemed to marry men who were follicly challenged and I was no exception. Nevertheless she welcomed me into the Daly clan with open arms and I can honestly say that of the two mother-in-laws I have experienced in my married life, she is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best bar none.