Rita A. Zaharia, 85, of Neche, ND, passed away Thursday, February 4, 2021 at the Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, ND, surrounded by her loved ones. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at the St. Boniface Catholic Church, Walhalla, ND. Visitation will be held Wednesday, February 10th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. rosary and vigil service at the church. Masks and social distancing are recommended. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Pembina County Faith in Action. A webcast of the service will be available on the funeral home website following the service.
Rita was born December 13, 1935 to Ed and Jennie Carignan in Leroy, ND. She grew up north of Cavalier and attended the rural Crosby District 82 School. She met Nick Zaharia picking potatoes. They married October 6, 1952, settling on “The Old Demars Farm.”
On July 15, 1953 Edward was born, followed by Mark on July 22, 1954. They then moved to what is called “The Home Place.” Billy was born June 5, 1958 and on July 10, 1959 Danny was born. Jimmy came along on June 30, 1961. October 6, 1962, on their anniversary, Tommy was born. December 30, 1964 Teddy was born. She always commented she was going to have 12 disciples. On May 11, 1969, Rita was surprised by who she expected to arrive as Johnny and instead Missy came along. She loved how people commented about “a girl after all those boys” until her last days. November 17, 1972, Julie came along to wrap up the nine kids.
There was nothing Rita didn’t or couldn’t do as a farm wife, from milking cows and combining, to churning her own butter and gardening. She was known counties wide for her baking and cooking, specifically her fudge brownies. Rita loved Christmas especially baking and cooking to share. She could stretch a meal to feed a small army and often she did. The Pembina County Fair was the highlight of the year for Rita. She was well known for her high hair, jewelry, and class.
Rita was an extremely talented artist and did Pysanky, Ukrainian Egg Painting, for many years. She was devastated when her shaking prevented her from painting. She always said she did her best praying while painting.
The greatest legacy Rita leaves to this Earth was her role as Granny. She was Granny to everyone and loved by all. She treasured her time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was always there for everyone and anyone who needed her, without being asked.
Rita’s faith in Our Lord and Savior never wavered. Faith was the greatest gift she gave not only to her family, but to all who knew her. Rita sought comfort and consolation from Our Blessed Virgin Mother and a Rosary was always wrapped in her hands. Rita especially treasured her two pilgrimages to Medjugorje, the place where Our Lady has appeared.
Rita is survived by her husband, Nick, Neche, ND; children: Mark (Joanne), Cummings, ND Billy (Lorrie), Owatonna, MN; Danny (Jessie), St. Mary’s, KS; Jimmy, Nashville, TN; Tommy (DesaRae), Pembina, ND; Teddy, Bathgate, ND; Missy (Scott), Grand Forks, ND; Julie (Chad), West Fargo, ND. Her grandchildren: John, Lisa, Jackson, Jacob, Mark William, Connie, Andy, Katrina, Sarah, Magdalen, Bridget, Luke, Genevieve, Caecilia, Chesley, Carly, Joseph, Joshua, Tyler, Brittany, Larissa, Alayna, Nicholas, Garret, Braden, and Michael. Great-grandchildren include: Emily, Courtney, Gracie, Johnnie, Levi, Layne, Naomi, Scarlett, Levi, Paige, Barrett, Joel, Cassidy, Hailey, Riley, Dutton, Grant, Lyda, and Blakely. She is also survived by her siblings: Doreen, Ronald, Louis, Jerry, Larry, Diane, Connie and Corrine and sisters-in-law, Mary and Ann, and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were her parents; son Edward; great-grandson Thaddeus and brother Melvin.