After courageously battling Stage 4 lung cancer for over 3 years, Rita J McDonald passed away peacefully in her home in Albuquerque, NM on June 20,2021 with her husband Michael and daughter Jill at her side.
Rita, a first generation Italian American, was born May 16,1937 in East Boston, MA to Giuseppina (Rotella) and Giuseppe Staropoli. Rita had a B.A, and an M.A. in Education from Boston State College. Rita moved to CA where she married Michael McDonald on June 19,1970. After living in Denver, Colo. Springs, and Cheyenne, WY, They settled down in Durango, CO. to raise their family.
Rita taught in elementary schools for over 35 years including several years at Sunnyside and Needham Schools in Durango. After retiring, Rita learned conversational Italian and playing the piano. She traveled throughout the U.S., Europe and Hawaii and loved spending time with her 8 grandchildren.Along with being the queen of bargain hunting shoppers and all things lavender, she was also known for her compassion and kindness for others. She enjoyed being a parishioner at St. Columba church in Durango,
Rita was preceded in death by her parents, brother Mike and sister Delia. She is survived by her husband, Michael, daughter Jill Stape (Dominic), son Michael (Bridget), and her 8 grandchildren, Mia, Talia, Michael, Olivia, Oliver, Alex, Edward, and Sergio.
A funeral mass will be held on July 12th at 9:00am at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic church at 5415 Fortuna Road, Albuquerque, NM, with a reception to follow at the church
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
at 800-805-5856, or online at Stjude.org
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Published by The Durango Herald from Jun. 30 to Jul. 1, 2021.