Rita M. Hellriegel, 59, of Wareham, died Friday, May 15, 2020 at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.
Born in Irvington, NJ, she was the daughter of the late James and Rita (Reynolds) Stanton. She moved to Massachusetts 29 year ago and was a previous resident of Brockton before moving to Wareham.
She is survived by her daughters, Amanda Hellriegel of Wareham and Courtney Turcotte of Arlington; and her brothers, James Stanton of KY and Michael Stanton of NJ. She was predeceased by her sister and best friend the late Dolores Shanks and her brothers, the late Thomas Stanton and Patrick Stanton.
The youngest of her 5 siblings, Rita grew up in New Jersey where she worked as a waitress. She was hardworking and a source of great joy to her customers - many of whom were like family to her.
After having her daughter Amanda, Rita moved to Massachusetts to be with family. There she attended Massasoit Community College where she earned a CNA certificate. Rita's compassion and love for other people went beyond her days as a CNA. She truly enjoyed helping other people. She found joy in any job, whether it was working as a CNA or assisting her sister with her cleaning business or helping to care for her great nieces and nephews. She loved playing with them in the yard, pushing them on the swings, hearing about their days and cheering them on! Rita was also the family historian; she told wonderful stories about growing up with her brothers, sister and parents in New Jersey. Family was everything to her.
Rita's true pride and joy was her daughter. She was her biggest cheerleader and confidante. She loved Amanda beyond measure and reveled in her many accomplishments!
Rita could find humor in almost any situation and was rarely without a smile and kind word. After moving to Wareham Rita became invaluable as she cared for her sister Dee and husband Bub, filling their days with laughter, love and entertainment. No matter how she felt she was happy to care for others.
Rita had boundless energy in a “fun sized” body and proved that good things come in small packages! She was a gentle soul with a kind heart and an infectious laugh. She was a true and loyal friend to many. She made new friends wherever she went with her gregarious nature and sharp wit. Rita was rarely without a smile and was able to find humor in almost any situation. She was remarkably strong, overcoming each challenge thrown her way and was the first to remind family and friends to pray to St. Anthony when things were lost.
Rita never forgot an important date and was the first one to wish you Happy Birthday or Anniversary! (She helped the rest of the family remember as well!) She was always happy when you walked in the door -greeting you with a cheerful "Hi sweetie"! The holidays were not complete without her excellent mash potatoes and broccoli and cheese casserole!
Rita enjoyed many nights with her friends at the Fan club - she loved to play cards and spend time with friends. Those card games won't be the same without her enthusiasm and infectious laughter. Rita loved to travel. She was an avid reader, enjoyed shopping and spending her afternoons in the sun. She enjoyed family gatherings and telling stories of her childhood.
Rita will be remembered for her strength of spirit, generosity, kindness and compassion.
Due to the current health crisis and restrictions, funeral services will be private.
Click below for Video Tribute slideshow.
Click below for livestream of funeral service.