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.
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.