Rita Anne O’Connor Kennelly, 51, of Oakland, NJ. passed away peacefully in her home while surrounded by her loving family on May 31, 2017. Rita was an amazing wife, mother and friend who will be dearly missed by all.
Rita grew up in Englewood, NJ and graduated from St. Cecilia High School. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Montclair State College graduating Magna Cum Laude. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Art Therapy and worked for many years as an art therapist sharing her love and selfless compassion through the arts in helping many people in need including substance abuse users, children without families, and Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Rita’s greatest love and passion was her beautiful family. She led by example and instilled in her kids the values of humility, empathy, dignity, integrity, grace, strength, resilience and so many other wonderful qualities that will sustain and carry them throughout their lives. She was a wonderful wife who loved and supported her husband with whom she shared her most cherished principles, values, and beliefs. Her love and support of her extended families and friends was equally strong and selfless as she was admired by many for the way she lived her life.
Rita is survived by her husband of 25 years, Steve; their son Ryan, and daughters Lia and Mary; her brothers Dan O’Connor and his wife Ellen, Ian O’Connor and his wife Tracey; her sisters Mary Stout and her husband Doug, Eileen Haftek and her husband Gary; her in-laws Bernice Kennelly, Ed Kennelly and Nancy Kennelly, Dan and Patti Kennelly, Kathy and Chris Craig, and Christine DeSanto. In addition, she is survived by 17 nieces and nephews.
In honor of Rita, the family asks that you spend time with your children and loved ones, share and laugh in the company of family and friends, and always remember to live your lives with humility and grace. Funeral Tuesday June 6, 2017 departing the Funeral Home at 10:30 (please arrive by 10AM) for a 11AM Funeral Liturgy at St. Mary’s R.C. Church 17 Pompton Avenue Pompton Lakes, NJ Cremation Private. Relative and friends mayvisit at the Oakland Memorial Home 330 Ramapo Valley Road (Rt. 202) Oakland, NJ on Monday from 4-8 PM. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Art Therapy without borders, Inc. c/o Don Cutcher 144 Garston Court Gahanna, OH. 43230. For further information, directions and condolences please visit Oaklandmemorial.com.