Rita Laver Phalen

Resided in Escanaba, MI
Died March 19, 2021

It is with great sadness that the family of Rita Laver Phalen announces her passing at Cedar Hill Assisted Living on March 19, 2021. Rita will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother.

Rita was born on December 14, 1929, in Columbus Township, Michigan, to Ruell and Ellen (Moore) Newberry. Her family later moved to Nahma, Michigan where she met the love of her life, Patrick Phalen. Rita and Pat were united in marriage on July 2, 1949 at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Nahma. Six years later they moved and made their home in Gladstone where they raised their four children.

Her greatest joy was being a homemaker and hosting and preparing for family gatherings. Through the years, Rita shared her beautiful quilts and crocheting skills with family and friends. Rita was an avid gardener and was always happy to share with everyone what her garden produced. Flea Markets and rummage sales drew her interest. Rita was always able to find great bargains and never came home empty handed.

Survivors include:
Daughters: Vicki (Dave) Ottensman or Gladstone
Sandy (Mike) Webber of Spaulding
Judy Hoffman of Iron Mountain
Son: Brian (Sandy) Phalen of Spring Hill, Florida
Sister: Laurel Newberry of Texas
Sister in law and Special Friend: Rosie Beauchamp of Nahma

Rita is further survived by her grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Rita’s husband Patrick preceded her in death in 2008. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by 2 granddaughters, 3 grandsons, 2 great granddaughters, 2 great grandsons, 4 brothers, 3 sisters and her parents, Ruell and Ellen.

While Rita will be deeply missed by her family and friends, she will always be remembered for her energy, independence, her handiwork and the joy of being a great hostess.

Graveside services for Rita will be held privately at the Fernwood Cemetery in Gladstone. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Delta County Animal Shelter or U.P. Health System Home Care and Hospice. Rita’s family would like to thank the staff of Cedar Hill Assisted Living, Hospice, and the OSF E.R. for their compassionate, gentle and attentive care that was given to our mother. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting with arrangements.

8 Tributes for “Rita Laver Phalen

    Vicki, Sandy, Judy and Brian,
    Dick and I send our deepest condolences in the loss of your dear mother. She was such a sweet lady. May God bring you all comfort during this sad time.

    It’s with deepest sympathy and condolences with the passing of your mom. I remember her as a spunky lady with a beautiful laughter. May the days of memories ahead help you heal . Prayers for you all, see finally will see your dad again

    I wanted to extend my heartfelt wishes for comfort and healing for you and your family. Your mother was so welcoming and generous whenever I spent time in your home. She was a truly lovely woman who deeply loved her family. She passed these qualities down to her children and that is evident in the kind words shared in her obituary.

    I will always treasure the handmade gifts and the years of memories from my grandma. She will be missed!

    You will always be remembered as a sweet and loving person to my family, Aunt Rita. Your smile and warmth is forever in my heart.

    Aunt Rita always made us DePuydt kids feel loved and welcomed. She was a big hearted, lovely woman with a cute smile and contagious laugh.
    Wishing you much comfort and love.

    You will always and forever be remembered as my spunky, sassy, feisty Gram! We are blessed to share the memories made and to pass on a piece of your love to our children through the legacy of your quilts, afghans and beautiful layette sets that were made for our children. I will forever treasure the intricately crochet table cloth that you made me and fondly remember you telling me that my taste was very fancy because the pattern I chose took you twice as long as your typical patterns you created. Your silver condiment tray will forever adorn my holiday table and special gatherings, as it creates a wonderful conversation piece. Which evokes the sound of your sweet voice telling us kids that we are limited to one pickle and two olives. Gram, you lived an amazing wonderful life filled with love and laughter. Give Grandpa a big hug for me. Much love and hugs from your Grans in Texas!!!

    So sorry to hear the passing of your mom. They both were so good to me as I was growing up near them and got to know Brian and you girls. May God bless you all. Sherry (Vanderlinden) Johnson.

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