Rita Mae D’Angelo passed away peacefully on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn., where she had been living for the past two years. Rita was a long-time resident of Lake Mohawk in Sparta, N.J., and a communicant at Our Lady of the Lake Church.
She was born on Sept. 5, 1933, in Dayton, Ohio, to Emil and Elizabeth Martin. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1955 and set her sights on New York City.
It was in New York that Rita met the love of her life, Vince D’Angelo. They were married in August 1959. As a gift to her husband on their first anniversary, Rita gave Vince two season tickets to the New York Football Giants. There were two conditions attached to the gift: one, Rita never had to go, and second, Vince could never take any other woman.
In 1972, Vince ran successfully for a seat on the Sparta Township Council. Rita was his campaign manager. He successfully ran several times and served as Sparta Township’s mayor in 1976. Rita, with a business partner, also ran Public Relations Originals, Inc., publishing community newspapers for several lake communities in the Pocono Mountains area of Pennsylvania.
Rita grew up during the Depression and watched her mother making large pots of hot soup that she would place on the back porch for those in the neighborhood who had no food. Rita never forgot her mother’s generosity and supported numerous community organizations, always inviting friends and neighbors who would be alone for the holidays to dinner at her house.
Vince predeceased Rita in 1981 after a long illness. She is survived by her sons, Michael (Susan) of Alexandria, Va., and Vincent of North Wildwood, N.J.; and daughter, Anne Marie of Minneapolis, Minn. In addition, she has five grandchildren, Kara, Meredith, Mathew, Bob, and Catherine, as well as a sister, Anita Finn of Portland, Ore.
A celebration of Rita’s life will be held later this year in Sparta. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Rita’s name to Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, the Second Harvest in Minneapolis, or the Lewy Body Dementia Association.