Rita Pearl MacFarlane
Rita Pearl MacFarlane (nee McInnis) passed away peacefully in her home on August 10, 2021 in the company of some of her children while listening to her favorite music just two days after her 103rd birthday.
Born in Moncton in 1918, just as WWI was ending, Mom was one of nine children of Benjamin and Elizabeth McInnis. She attended Moncton High School where she met Douglas MacFarlane. He boldly asked if he could carry her badminton racket after a game at St. Bernard’s Church gymnasium. She refused but allowed him to walk her home. Nearly a decade later, in 1943, they married and went on to build a happy life together including a family of twelve children, 25 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. Douglas MacFarlane, Q.C. became a prominent Moncton lawyer.
Mom had an eventful life. She trained and worked as a nurse in Halifax during WWII with the U-boats outside the harbour. She lived through pandemics, wars, the Great Depression, global recessions, and tectonic advancements in every science and social endeavor. She embraced it all. Once in her 90s, she responded to a question: "Just a minute, I’m rebooting my I-Pad."
But Mom’s greatest test was truly daunting. When Dad was only 52 years of age, he had a major stroke that left him unable to speak and paralyzed on his right side. Mom cared for him at home while also raising 10 children. She kept everything intact, home and cottage; children went to university, if they wished; she fed, clothed and raised them all. All this without a driver’s licence or a job. The parable of the loaves and fishes comes to mind. Mom and Dad remained close and loving for the next 17 years before he passed. Mom met every challenge with love, grace, courage and dignity guided by her deep spiritual beliefs and faith. She was a long standing member of the C.W.L at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church.
Beautiful at every stage of her life, with electric blue eyes and a lively smile; she claimed that putting on her lipstick in the morning made her feel happy and ready for whatever the day had in store. Ever positive and optimistic, full of fun with a hint of mischief, Mom was a magnetic personality. She was an empathic listener and never forgot a detail someone shared. She was also an entertaining storyteller full of interesting information and opinion. Children flocked to her because she listened and spoke to them with true understanding and affection. Mom always knew exactly what every one of her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren wanted as a present.
Mom had a strong sense of community and civic duty. She voted in every election including the last provincial election. At 102, she was vaccinated against COVID. She said to the nurse administering the vaccine: "If something is going to keep you and others safe, why wouldn’t you take it?" Mom was also interested in sports. As a younger woman she was a talented curler having an eight ender game, and was a Past President of the Women’s Division of the Beaver Curling Club. In her seventies, some of her sons introduced her to cross country skiing, learning to ride a bike, and riding on the back of a motorcycle. In her later years, she became an avid fan of the Blue Jays and Raptors.
Although her favorite place was Cassie Cape where she has had a cottage for over fifty years, Mom also loved to travel with her children and with Dad, even after the stroke. She was keen to experience other cultures and perspectives and travelled around North America, to Greece, England, Mexico, Hawaii, Germany, and even to the Gaza Strip during the height of the Intifada. She was fearless and loved adventure.
Mom was predeceased by her son Ian, her daughter Myriam, her great-granddaughter Maeve Sampson, her brothers James and George McInnis and her sisters Eileen Govang, Emma Pisani, Lillian Belliveau, Eleanor Campbell, and Alice Fitzgerald. She is survived by her sister, Marjorie LeBlanc and many nieces and nephews who maintained regular contact with Mom over the years.
Mom’s surviving children are Douglas (Anne), Waterdown, ON; Robert (Maria), Oakville, ON; Heather Dupuis, (Paul), Moncton, NB; Colin (Treva Jeffries), Northport, NS; Christine, (Edward Possberg), PE; Bruce, Moncton, NB; Geralyn (Don Allison), Moncton, NB; Hugh (Maureen), Oakville, ON; Andrew (Katherine), Calgary, AB; Andrea Rafferty (Shawn), Moncton, NB. Mom has 25 grandchildren and 25 surviving great-grandchildren.
Mom will be dearly missed by her friend Theresa Gillespie with whom shared many good times.
The family would like to thank Bayshore Health Care staff for the support they gave Mom before the Covid pandemic and the extramural nurses who visited Mom with such kindness and care.
A visitation will be held on September 8, 6:00 –
8:00 at Tuttle Brothers Funeral Home, 214 Pine Glen Rd, Riverview, NB.
The following day, September 9, at 11:00, Father Phil Mulligan will
offer a Funeral Mass at Holy Family Church, 52 Falkland St.,
Interment will be held at Our Lady of Calvary Roman Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Heart and Stoke Foundation or to a charity of your choice.
Mom’s favorite expression was: "Life in small moments perfect be."
Arrangements have been entrusted to Tuttle Brothers &
Riverview Funeral Home 214 Pine Glen Rd. Riverview, NB (506)
Online condolences can be made at www.tuttlefuneralhome.ca