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05
December

Rita Vandervoort

Rhody Family Funeral Home

“Gardening is like everything else in life, you get out of it as much as you put in. No one can make a garden by buying a few packets of seeds or doing an afternoon’s weeding. You must love it, and then your love will be repaid a thousandfold, as every gardener knows.”

This quote from Margery Fish so accurately describes Rita’s love of gardening. She loved spending time outdoors and working in her gardens. She took great pride in them and never took any shortcuts. Her hard work never went unnoticed, as she often shared the fruits of her labour with her family and friends. Rita’s work ethic and giving personality will live on in those closest to her, for generations to come.

Helen “Rita” was born to parents Francis and Helena (Keais) Cox in Brantford on May 19, 1935, where the family was staying temporarily as her father and a brother were recovering from tuberculosis. Rita joined older siblings, Jack (1925), Bill (1927), Gerald (1929), and Kathleen “Kay” (1933). The Cox family soon relocated back to the Ayton area and, in the spring of 1943, they moved to Hanover where Rita began attending school at Holy Family. In her youth, Rita and her sister Kay did a variety of tasks to raise spending money for themselves. Rita often recalled collecting pop bottles from the neighbours and cashing them in for $0.02 apiece. Imagine! They required six bottles ($0.12) each to earn enough money to attend a movie at the local theatre. She recently said that she couldn’t believe there was a time in her life when she didn’t have $0.02 to her name! Rita graduated from the Hanover High School, before heading to Kitchener to attend Nursing School. In later years Rita shared a unique story on how she often got home from school for family visits. As luck would have it she was introduced to the Grey-Bruce delivery driver for the KW Record. Before long, she was grabbing a ride home with him as he delivered papers. Therefore, in true Rita fashion, she needed to repay this act of kindness and subscribed to the daily KW Record. She continued to support this paper until it was no longer available for daily delivery in the Chesley area. Imagine! Her schooling led to placements at St. Mary’s Hospital, Homewood in Guelph and SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Rita graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1956, and returned home to be closer to family.

While enjoying a night out, roller skating, in Hanover Rita was introduced to a young man by the name of Francis “Frank” Anthony Vandervoort. The young couple hit it off immediately and soon began dating. They were married on October 4, 1958 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Hanover. Rita had spent some time working at the Hanover & District Hospital before relocating to Chesley, and beginning to work at the hospital there. The newlyweds settled into an apartment on the Main Street of Chesley, and the Vandervoort family soon began to grow. Tom was born in 1959, with Rick following along a couple of years later in 1961. With a growing family the Vandervoorts needed more space, so they moved to a smaller home on the south end of Chesley before moving to Rita’s current home in January 1962. Rita kept very busy supporting and caring for the three men in her life. As a nurse, shift-work was difficult with a young family, so before long Rita left her career to further support Frank and the garage business. However, once a nurse, always a nurse as Rita cared for and helped countless people throughout the duration of her life.

Before long, a routine soon developed in Rita’s life whereby she would get the boys off to work and school, Frank would come home for a hot lunch daily, from 1 – 2 p.m., and dinner was prepared for between 6 – 7 p.m. In her spare time, between all her tasks at home, Rita would assist Frank with the business books. This was no easy task as she often struggled to decipher Frank’s penmanship and keep clients apart. As an example, do you know how many Mr. Thomsons there were? 🙂 Although not always her favourite role, she settled in nicely and was a big asset for the business. She was always there to support Frank and in turn helped the business flourish through the years.

In their free time, Rita and Frank loved to dance. I am told Rita coached her husband along a bit in the beginning but before long they were gracefully moving around the dance floor like one. As previously mentioned, she also loved to be outside in her gardens. Rita’s specialty was her roses, but she was also fond of geraniums and tulips, and enjoyed Amaryllis bulbs at Christmas.  She cherished the Jack-in-the-pulpits, Bloodroots and Trilliums that, as young boys, Tom and Rick dug up for her for Mother’s Days over the years. Gardening was truly a labour of love. In fact, her talent had no boundaries as she even helped (without knowledge of the plant, as it was not in her flower books) one of the boys (apparently not Tom :)) grew a now legal plant in their backyard. Needless to say when it did not flower, and she became aware of the type of plant, she was not too happy and the plant soon disappeared. As her family grew, Rita loved spending time with her grandchildren, always trying to keep up with the happenings in their lives. She also enjoyed swimming, whether in the river at Scone or in the pool when on their vacations south with close friends. Countless memories were made on their 36 trips to southern destinations as this was their only escape over the years from the family business. Rita also was a member of St. Anne’s CWL and always helped out where she could. She particularly enjoyed supplying flowers from her garden for CWL events. She enjoyed collecting glassware and wooden carvings when they appealed to her.

Rita was an avid reader, enjoying a variety of genres like documentaries, historical novels and non-fiction. She enjoyed visits from her family’s pets, always showing them the same love as everyone else in the family. Rita loved her music, particularly anything Irish. In fact, the first thing she saved for while working part-time in restaurants, was a radio. When it came to TV, she enjoyed Antiques Roadshow, any form of House Hunters, or simply kept up with the news. She was particularly drawn to the colour turquoise as “it went with everything”. Her appearance was very important to her and she loved her jewellery, whether it was of good quality or from Giant Tiger or from a beach vendor in Mexico. She especially enjoyed haggling over the price with the latter. Rita preferred her own cooking but loved her shrimp. I am also told she had a soft spot for Timbits, Aero Bars and BB Bats. What are BB Bats you may ask? Type it into Google and you will probably recall them from your childhood. Rita was first introduced to them at church, as it was their treat after attending weekly catechism classes.

Rita was an honest, independent woman, who enjoyed giving and helping others whenever possible. She was resourceful, never wanting to waste anything that may be needed down the road. On occasion, she was known for her Irish dander, but mainly she was just a big supporter of Frank and her family, often putting their needs and interests before her own!

Sadly, the last few years have been extremely difficult for Rita and her family, with the death of Frank in 2017 and Rick earlier this year. Although not one to dwell on these huge losses publicly, Rita missed them both dearly. Unfortunately, in recent months, her own health began to deteriorate and she passed away on Saturday, December 5, 2020 in her 86th year.

Beloved wife of the late Frank Vandervoort (2017). Loving mother of Tom (Sandi) and mother-in-law of Nancy Vandervoort, all of Elmwood. Cherished grandmother of Kerri (Daryl Dunstan), Alaina, Brad and Jodi (Aaron Heipel) and great-grandmother of Eveah. Rita will be fondly remembered by her sister Kay Horan of Hanover, sister-in-law Mary Lou Cox of Walkerton and the entire Cox and Vandervoort families. She was predeceased by her son Rick (2020), brothers Jack (June), Gerald (Joyce) and Bill Cox, brother-in-law Jerome Horan and her parents Francis and Helena (Keais) Cox.

A private Funeral Mass honouring Rita’s life will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2020 at Holy Family Catholic Church, Hanover. The Mass will be live-streamed for those who wish to view by going to: http://holyfamily.ca/media/ at 10 a.m. A recording of Rita’s Mass will also be posted on the Rhody Family Funeral Home website afterwards. Father Emmanuel Azike officiating. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.

Memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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Tom & Karen Sweiger
December 15, 2020

Very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you at this time.

Terry Noble
December 13, 2020

…..and what a beautiful skater she was!

John and Karen Winkels
December 10, 2020

We were so sorry to hear of your loss. Our sympathy to all of you.

Jim and Sue Vandervoort
December 10, 2020

We pray that you Tom and Sandi will cherish the memories of your time on this earth with Aunt Rita! She certainly knew how to have a good time. Our thoughts are with you. God Bless!

Sharon Westenberg
December 10, 2020

She was a lovely lady. We are loosing so many of our loved ones. She is gone but will never be forgotten.

The Rogers Family
December 10, 2020

We will miss her greatly. The boys would always smile and wave to her and Frank on their way home from school … she would insist on cutting flowers from her garden to give to me for mother’s day and share beans from her farden when there were too many for her to eat. No one could ask for better neighbors. .. praying for you during this difficult time…

Larry Cox
December 10, 2020

My condolences. I will miss Rita deeply

Jack and Ellen Cavill
December 10, 2020

To Tom, Sandi, Nancy and families, our sympathy to you in the loss of your mother. Rita was a beautiful lady and will be missed by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Jeff and Bobbi Jo Vandervoort
December 10, 2020

Sympathies to all of you at this sad time. We will all miss Aunt Rita dearly. Cherish all the great memories xo

Beth Ann MacDonald (Robson)
December 10, 2020

Tom, Sandi & family. So sorry for your loss. I have very fond memories of your mom. Everytime I see a rose, I will think of my Godmother Rita💖

Elaine (nee Schuett) and Walter Pevcevicius
December 9, 2020

We are so sorry for your loss. Rita was such a lovely and vibrant woman, and a dear dear friend and travel buddy for my parents. Deepest sympathy

Love Frank, Andrea, Max, and Maggie
December 9, 2020

Tom, Sandie, Nancy and Families,

I am so sorry to hear that your mom/our Aunt Rita passed. Your mother was one of the most kind, caring, and empathetic people that I’ve ever known. She always had a nice smile/hug and always made time to visit with us when we were back in Chesley.

We will be reminded of the fond memories we have of your mom – and dad – by their gifts of bulbs and garden ornaments that make our flower beds pop. Missed but never forgotten – and I will continue to raise a glass of Crown Royale to them each 4 Oct….

Susan and Henry
December 9, 2020

Our deepest sympathy to the family.

Don and Anne McLean
December 9, 2020

Rita didn’t now what she was getting into when she married into the Vander Voort family.
After Mom and Dad died, Rita and Frank’s home was the “go to” place when we drove into
town and they always welcomed us with open arms. We will always remember the
great fun times and get-to-gethers at their home. Thanks Rita – you were a good sport.
We’re sure God will let you spend lots of time in his rose garden We’ll miss you.
Rest in peace.

Ron Cox & Rhonda
December 9, 2020

We send our Love and wish your family Peace and Hope during this difficult time. My God Bless you and Keep you.

Donna Mc Keag and families
December 8, 2020

Tom, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I remember living next door to you and your family in Chesley, will never forget your great parents .thinking of you at this time.

Jim and Yvonne Witzke
December 8, 2020

Tom and family, our sincere sympathy in the loss of a great neighbour, we’ll miss her friendly waves!

Susan Godin
December 8, 2020

I was blessed to have Rita and Frank as my God-parents. I have such fond memories of them both growing up and of the friendship her and my mom shared. I will miss her.

Janice (Martini) & John Miltenburg
December 8, 2020

So sorry to hear of Rita’s passing. Our condolences to your family.

James Osborne Anne Simkins andfamily
December 8, 2020

We are so sorry for your loss

Mary Lou Perrott
December 8, 2020

Condolences to the Vandervoort family. I have lots of good memories. She will be missed. Prayers and thoughts are with you.

Bernadette McCormick
December 8, 2020

We will always remember Rita for her kindness and generosity and as a warm-hearted sister-in-law. I will miss her

Laura Lee Ribey-Hicks
December 8, 2020

My deepest condolences on the loss of Rita. My prayers are with you and your family.

Nancy & Bev Nickel
December 8, 2020

Deepest sympathy on your recent loss of Rita. Such a wonderful lady, a generous & friendly neighbour for years. Always smiling & talkative. We miss her already.

Dan and Tracy Subject
December 8, 2020

Tom, Sandi, Nancy and families. so sorry for your loss and our deepest and sincerest condolences
Dan and Tracy

Joan and Rick Denomy
December 8, 2020

So sorry for your loss Tom, Sandi, Nancy and families. I remember having wonderful conversations with Rita on various topics. We shared a love of gardening and I remember getting plants from her garden and having a tour of her backyard where she showed me her swimming pool. 🙂

Jeanette Norris (Bluhm)
December 8, 2020

So sad to hear of the passing of Rita we new the family for years Peace be with the family .

Bob & Diane Murphy
December 8, 2020

To the entire Vandervoort Family – we are truly sorry for your loss. Rita was a considerate, caring person .. a true lady. We enjoyed our ‘patio visits’ with your parents reminiscing of years gone by… Take care & treasure the memories.

Vicky and Ed Myers
December 8, 2020

So sorry for your loss, take comfort in your memories

Peter Knipfel
December 8, 2020

We have many fond memories of Rita. One of the first people we met when we moved to Chesley, Our condolences to the entire family.

Peter & Jacqui Knipfel

Colleen Lowry
December 8, 2020

Dear Tom and family,so sorry to hear of your Moms passing,many fond memories of the great neighbours your parents were across the street from us.You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

Elaine allerton
December 8, 2020

Sandi and Tom,,,,,soSorry to hear this!!!thoughts and prayers ,,,,Elaine allerton

Lana Girodat
December 7, 2020

Dear Tom and Sandi And Nancy and families, my condolences. I was saddened to hear of Ritas passing. She was a lovely lady.

Dave & Brenda Hamel
December 7, 2020

So sorry for the loss of your mom Tom & Family

Peter McCormick
December 7, 2020

Very sad to read the news that Auntie Rita passed away. My condolences to the family.

Judy & Jim Sloan
December 7, 2020

To Rita’s family: Sincere sympathy on the loss of your dear mom Rita. I always enjoyed chatting with your mom when we lived at Chesley. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Joe and Linda
December 7, 2020

So sorry for your loss Tom and family. Your mom and dad will always be remembered.

Dan & Cathy Kelly
December 7, 2020

Prayers and fond memories are what we have to remember. We will miss you Aunt Rita.

Robert & Pam Bell
December 7, 2020

Tom, Sandi, Kerri & Alaina
Sending our deepest sympathies to you and hoping all your beautiful memories of Mom, Grandma will bring you peace in the days ahead
When someone we love becomes a memory,
That memory becomes a treasure.
I will miss her beautiful flower beds!

Judy, Lorne and Anastasia McEwen.
December 7, 2020

We will fondly remember Rita as generous, kind-hearted sister-in-law and aunt.

Joyce and David Weppler
December 7, 2020

Tom, Sandra, Kerri and Alaina you all are in our thoughts and prayers. So sorry for your loss of a wonderful Mom and grandmother. Treasure the memories. Hugs ❤

Terry Lawson
December 7, 2020

I am so sorry to hear of Rita’s passing. I have fond memories of her, her kindness and generosity to so many people. Rest in peace Rita.

Dawn Brenndorfer
December 7, 2020

Sending my sympathy. She was one unique lady!

Sherry Caldwell
December 7, 2020

My heart breaks to read my wonderful friend has passed away. I will always remember our time spent together over last years stormy days and many other visits talking of flowers and your wonderful family. Forever etched in my memories. Now you are back with Frank to love and hold dearly once again. Rick is back in your arms too. May all of the family accept my heartfelt sympathy. Love and prayers to all. Rita was one of a kind,she was a beautiful lady whom loved her family so much. She will be missed by many.
Sincerely,Sherry Caldwell

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