34 entries | 2 photos
  • "I only met Rita once at a Bat Mitzvah and am so sorry I..."
    - Claudine Bazini
  • "rita your sprit is all around us dancing and though we miss..."
    - Rachelle El hassid
  • "The Sarf family is Sadened by the loss of Rita. Our..."
    - Larry Sarf
  • "I am so sincerely sorry for the loss of this beautiful..."
  • "Dear Josh, I had written a note and then was unable to..."
    - Cindy Miller
The Guest Book is expired.

ANGEL--Rita (nee Altchek), September 18, 1938, passed away September 9, 2013. My wife Rita was the youngest child of Solomon and Blanche Altchek. Thus the origin of the sobriquets "Baby Rita" and "Rita Babe" to which she answered throughout her life. She was the much loved sister of her physician brothers Albert Altchek, and Martin Altchek. The adored, beloved, beatified mother and mother-in-law of Nicole Wachter, and her husband David; Spencer Angel and his wife Alexis. The doting grandmother of Michael and Matthew Wachter, and Sophia and Joshua Angel. For 52 years, no matter how gloomy the immediate circumstances she brought a smile to my heart, and taught me to appreciate life. She was my most trusted, and wisest business partner, my best friend, and the constant and eternal love of my life. Our families had similar European origination backgrounds, and were friends. We however, were not, and our initial meeting was by chance, and totally serendipitous. That meeting resulting in my immediate falling madly in love with Hunter College's most beautiful and luminous graduate of any year. Rita was not similarly smitten, and over the next two years she skillfully evaded my successive proposals of marriage. Her hesitation in the marriage department probably emanated from my combined lack of dance skills, mediocre career prospects, and general boorishness. I suspect that her reluctance to say yes was overcome only after her father, clearly tired of my mooning around, ordained that she had wasted enough time on me, and should either move on, or marry the dope. In those years women listened to their fathers, and thus we married on July 4, 1963. Over the next 50 years we were extremely fortunate in raising two exceptional and wonderful children as we prospered, and enjoyed a storybook family life and marriage. My only regret in that regard being the present certainty of no more storybook years to come. She was the kindest and most caring person I have ever known. Totally devoid of any kind of malice or guile Rita throughout her life was uniquely possessed of an infectious schoolgirl naivety, and charm. Blessed with an artless, ingenuous, and eternally youthful persona she was amazingly intelligent, caring, selfless, and the most beautiful person imaginable. Rita's single most endearing quality was her ability to transmit her unique flair for life to all who knew her. Destined to expire on the floor of a Manhattan disco, or the slopes of Saint Moritz, Rita was instead fickle fated by a return visit from cancer two years ago. The disease, which she had vanquished over thirty years ago, returned this time in diabolic form, and was ultimately lethal. Despite heroic effort of dedicated teams of Mount Sinai Hospital associates, Zoya her home care provider, the overall extraordinary loving supervision of our daughter Nicole, and Rita's natural combativeness, it was the disease, rather than the defenders who dictated the story's end. For Rita and Josh all that now remains is in the words of a World War II song - "I'll never smile again until I smile at you." Our Jewish mythology has man and woman as a single soul, separated at birth, rejoined in marriage and ultimately re-united in death. Who knows, and if perchance there is a remelding of souls to be had in a life after life, so to speak, then I'm all for it. Goodbye my love, and thank you for having given my life its substance and meaning. For me our romance will never be finished, and should our souls chance to remeld I promise next time to be more amusing, and a better dance partner. Service at Riverside Memorial, 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue on Tuesday, September 10 at 11:45am. Remembrances to The Pancreas Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University, 161 Fort Washington Avenue, New York, NY 10032.Joshua Angel

Published in The New York Times on Sept. 10, 2013