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Rita M. Freeman; (O'Neill) 90

Rita M. (O'Neill) Freeman; 90

FITCHBURG -- Rita M. (O'Neill) Freeman, 90, a longtime Fitchburg resident, died peacefully Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Notre Dame Longterm Care Center in Worcester, after a brief illness, surrounded by her loving family. Her husband of 51 years, Walter "Wally" A. Freeman, a Fitchburg Fire Fighter, died in 1998.

She leaves one nephew, Jeffrey B. O'Neill, and his wife, Carleen, of Leominster; two nieces, Jane M. Flynn, and her husband, William, of Lancaster and Kathleen A. O'Donnell, and her husband, James, of Shrewsbury, MA; and several grand nephews and nieces.

She was predeceased by a brother, Bernard D. "Brud" O'Neill in 1992.

Rita worked for many years for the New England Telephone Company, and later as manager of the former Fanny Farmer Candy Shop on Main St. in Fitchburg,
She was a 1940 graduate of St. Bernard's High School, was a longtime member of St. Bernard's Parish in Fitchburg and the Daughters of Isabella.

She was active in the Senior Citizen community of Fitchburg and held several offices including President of the Fitchburg Golden Age Club. She could always be found working as a volunteer at the Fitchburg Senior Center, and serving on various committees at the Center.

Rita had a special talent for knitting and crocheting. She used her skill to make hats and mittens for various charitable organizations and for sale at craft shows to benefit senior citizen programs. Rita and her husband, Wally, traveled extensively and had a particular love for Ireland and Hawaii. They also enjoyed taking cruises to destinations throughout the world.

FREEMAN -- Her Funeral will be celebrated on Sat., Jan. 5, from the Smith-Mallahy-Masciarelli and Fitchburg Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Home, 243 Water St., Fitchburg, with a Mass at 10:00 a.m. in St. Bernard's Parish at St. Camillus de Lellis Church, 333 Mechanic St., Fitchburg. Burial will follow at St. Bernard's Cemetery in Fitchburg. Calling hours at the Funeral Home are on Fri., Jan. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Senior Citizens Center, 14 Wallace Ave., Fitchburg, MA 01420 or may be left at the Funeral Home. See www.masciarellifamilyfuneralhomes.net for further information.
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Published in Sentinel & Enterprise on Jan. 3, 2013
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