Rita Weston

Rita Weston

1937 - 2005

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Obituary of Rita Weston

My Mom, Rita, was born November 24, 1937 in Lewiston, Idaho, and was raised on the White Springs Ranch in Genesee, Idaho. She was the youngest of the twelve children of Henry M. and Margarite Lorang. The White Springs Ranch was a working farm, so she learned the meaning of hard work, and developed strong work ethic at a very young age. She attended St Mary’s Elementary Catholic School, and Graduated from Genesee High School in 1955. With an interest in drama, and a strong background in home economics, she attended college at the University of Idaho at Moscow that same year. In 1956 she met my father Milton B. Weston, and they were married on 5 Jan 1957. Together they managed the Bowling Alley Diner in Moscow until mom became pregnant with my older sister, Katrina. Much to her dismay, my father joined the United States Air Force in October 1959. Rita remained on the Ranch while Dad completed Military Basic Training. She went into premature labor after canning 200 quarts of peaches, and gave birth to Katrina Marie on November 30, 1959. In the Spring of 1960, She joined Milton in Louisiana, and experienced quite a culture shock, as she had never been exposed to racism. To her the water tasted the same from both water fountains. In 1963, I was born, Joseph Henry on England AFB, Alexandria, Louisiana. Six weeks later we joined Dad, who had been stationed in Syracuse, New York. The following year we moved to Templehof AB, West Berlin, Germany. Rita became very involved in volunteer work, and also became the President of the Airman’s Wives Club. On July 4, 1966, Andrea Kay was born at the American hospital in Berlin. From there we were transferred to Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska. In the Fall of 1968, Erica Norine was born. Dad finished his degree, and was accepted into Officer Training School (OTS) in San Antonio, Texas in 1969. Upon completion of OTS, we received military orders to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. We arrived during a blizzard via military transport, and I got lost in the airport. This is when Mom got her first gray hair and named it “Joe”. Mom became very active as a volunteer, and a member of the Officer’s Wives Club. Rita loved living in Alaska, and was often moved by majestic beauty and wildlife we experienced there. She especially enjoyed the moose wandering around the base. In 1972, doctors discovered her heart was beating extremely slow, and Rita was flown to Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas to receive her first pacemaker. The Air Force decided in 1973 that mom needed to be close to Wilford Hall in order to monitor her pacemaker, and we moved to San Antonio in September of that year. During the next ten years she focused on raising us kids, and instilled in us her indelible work ethic, and a strong sense of charity. Rita and Milton divorced in 1985, and she, Andrea, and Erica moved to Idaho in 1988. In 1989, she moved in with her sister Lois in Auburn, Washington and became one of the first Telephone Service Representatives for the Social Security Administration when the Auburn facility opened that year. Katrina moved to Auburn in 1990, and she and mom moved in together. In 1994, mom had a mitral valve replacement, an aortic aneurysm repair, and was placed on a heart transplant list. Following this surgery, she remained in a coma, and on life support for a week, which caused extensive damage to her vocal cords. When she returned to work, she was transferred to the Teletype for the Deaf unit. She also spearheaded Christmas Giving Tree, and Adopt-a-Family programs at work. Her dedication to helping those in need touched many people, and made a difference to numerous children all year round. In 1996, she bought a house in Auburn, Katrina moved back to Texas, and Dad moved in with her. In 1999, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a mastectomy. After the surgery, she was removed from the heart transplant list. The year 2001 proved to be extremely stressful on all of us, but especially Mom. Katrina was killed in a car wreck in February on her way home from School; Her teaching degree was awarded post-humously. Later that year we learned that mom’s cancer had metastasized to her bones, and she began radiation treatment. Despite her failing health, and the rigors of the cancer treatment she pushed on. She continued to work for the Social Security Administration, but devoted more and more of her energy toward charity. The radiation treatments seamed to be working, and her cancer was contained in her hip and back. In July 2005, She slipped in the tub and fractured her hip, and then found the cancer had spread to other bones. In September, She retired. On September 30, she was involved in a car crash, and broke both arms. She was admitted to an assisted care facility to receive the care she needed while her arms healed. She was discharged to home on 12 November, and admitted to Hospice. I was able to move to Auburn and in with her to assist her with her mobility, and care needs. During the last month of her life, I was available to her at practically every waking moment. Many have commented to me how fortunate she was to have me. But, I am the fortunate one. During her last month I gained from her a true sense of why we are here. Many times we would sit up at 3 AM discussing our lives. I realized that much of my determination and perseverance in life, my work ethics, appreciation for the simple beauty of nature and need to help others had come from my Mom. She spoke to me at times of her fear of dieing, and then later her fear of living. Though at times, she felt she was a burden, she had resolved to the fact she would die soon, and I had joy in my heart to know I was able to be with her. She had in her life endured many hardships, and health problems. Her physicians were often amazed at her strength, and determination to survive beyond what many would have succumbed to much sooner. One day she commented to Erica that she was worried of the burden her death would cause on those who depended on her. This was her way; she frequently carried the pain of others to help them endure. Erica told her that when she died, we would just tell everyone she had moved to Connecticut. On December 12, 2005, at 1:00 AM, she called out to Henry, “Daddy, I’m ready to come Home”, and at 1:08 she left us. Though I know I will forever feel the sorrow of our loss, I rejoice in her Glory, and know that she is healed in death. I love you Mommy. Your Baby Boy,
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