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Rita Mellus Fenaughty


1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Rita Mellus Fenaughty Obituary
February 12, 1932 - August 18, 2017 Rita Mellus Fenaughty, known as Dede, passed away peacefully on August 18, 2017 surrounded by her loving family after a brief illness. She was a descendant of an early California pioneer family and one of the first mayors of Los Angeles. Dede was born in Hancock Park and attended Immaculate Heart High School. Dede was a beautiful original. At 16, she became a Maybelline model and at 18 she was the first Catholic Homecoming Queen at the University of California-Berkeley. Dede's children fondly remember her welcoming manner to their friends. She was like a den mother to all and seemed to enjoy being surrounded by the teenage energy and chaos. While Dede enjoyed her Chardonnay and cigarettes, she'd bribe her grandchildren with ice cream cones, Oreos, and See's Candies. Most importantly, people remember Dede for her mischievous sense of humor and contagious laughter. Mysteriously, the fire alarm went off without cause during the priest's homily at her memorial service, and her daughter quipped "Dede's lighting one up one last time." Her survivors include her four children, Arnie Kapan, Jr., Eric Kapan, Tom (Rachel) Fenaughty, and Cathy (Charlie) Wilmoth, and five grandchildren: Emilie, Cate, Tess, Chris and Fiona. Dede joins in heaven her daughter, Michelle Kapan, and her parents, Frank Mellus and Vera Mellus. Our family is appreciative of the tender care provided to Dede by her caregivers at Aegis and the hospice staff and volunteers at Continuum Care. We are especially appreciative of the care, love, and attention provided by Tom Smith to Dede and her kitties, during the years she lived in Palm Desert. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Continuum Care Hospice, 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 1220, Concord, CA 94520 (Tax ID# 47-4278254).
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2017
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