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Rita Marie Staszkiewicz

May 31, 1927 - October 12, 2018
Grand Rapids - WestSide, MI

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Visitation

Sunday, October 14, 2018
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Visitation

Sunday, October 14, 2018
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263

The rosary will be prayed at the funeral home at 7:00 pm Sunday evening.

Driving Directions

Visitation

Monday, October 15, 2018
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Sacred Heart Church
156 Valley Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-8362

Service

Monday, October 15, 2018
11:00 AM EDT
Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
156 Valley Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-8362

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Catholic War Vets Post #1500
156 Valley Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-8362

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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The independent, free-spirited yet traditional lady known as Rita Staszkiewicz was a loving and caring woman to everyone she encountered. A little strong-willed at times but always honest, it was all the more reason to love this fun-loving lady. A true blessing to those around her, the heart of Rita was centered on the family she so dearly loved and making precious memories along the way. She was an honest, hard-working woman who loved being social, especially anything to do with her rich Polish heritage. With trusting faith, Rita shared her warmth and kindness to all. Deeply missed, the memory of Rita will be forever remembered.

On May 31, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rita Marie came into the world to Anthony and Rose (Polega) Rosloniec. Born the fifth of nine children, Rita was their only child born in a hospital.

Rita grew up alongside her siblings; John, Clara, Chris, Henry, Fritz, Evelyn, Ceil, and Fay in their family home on Pulawski Street. Rita’s father worked for a furniture manufacturer and made beautiful furniture while her mother was not only a homemaker but had a career at the Grand Rapids Gas Light Company as a cleaning woman. The neighborhood was filled with many other Polish families on that one-block street nestled on the west side of the city. As a young girl Rita and her sisters were “forced” to embroidery as their Mother would say that idle hands were the work of the devil. She stood in line with the rest of her siblings for her daily spoonful of cod liver oil which she didn’t think too highly of at the time but enabled her to enjoy a long life. Rita formed many lasting friendships throughout her close knit community while attending Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School. English was spoken at school, but Polish was the language spoken at home. She was raised in a home devout to their Catholic faith which Rita carried close to her heart always. Although the world was faced with many challenges during Rita’s formative years, the Rosloniec family remained strong in their faith and made it work. Rita continued that drive and determination throughout her lifetime and instilled that determination into her children and grandchildren.

As a young person and teenager, Rita enjoyed ice skating on the pond at John Ball Park and taking in many matinees on Saturday afternoons. Ten cents got Rita and her best friends, Leona Piechocki and Barb Novakowski, a day full of movies as they would sneak in to watch one movie after another. Rita, along with her brothers and sisters and friends spent weekends polka dancing at the local Polish halls. She could easily strike up a conversation with just about anyone. She had a mind of her own and once bought a brand new Club Coupe car even though she didn’t know how to drive. With her daughter’s independent thinking, Rita’s mother went right out and bought herself a rosary for doing so. Another time when Rita started wearing pants against her mother’s will, Rita’s mother again purchased another rosary and prayed for her daughter. Rita was definitely a trailblazer in her own right.

From Sacred Heart School Rita went on to attend Davis Tech before graduating from Union High School with the Class of 1945. During high school at the height of World War II she rolled bandages for the Red Cross and later built aircraft fuel cells as a young woman. Other jobs included packaging butter at Blue Valley Butter and separating eggs at an egg exchange and distribution company. She worked for seven years at American Boxboard, and 22 years as a cook and dishwasher at the former Duba’s Restaurant.

Even though Rita was an independent woman and enjoyed her social life, she craved a home and family much like some of her siblings who had already married. Then she met “Stas” Staszkiewicz one evening at Sabota’s Tavern. For Stas, it was love at first sight. For Rita, not so much...at first. After several dates with Stas, Rita’s heart grew and they came to share a deep love. They dated for about a year and on February 7, 1953, married at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. After a fun-filled Polish reception with family and friends they headed to Chicago for their honeymoon and a bowling tournament Stas was participating in. Rita was very happy even though she would claim that she was still to young to marry at 26 years of age.

The newlyweds set-up house in an apartment in Grand Rapids, first on Muskegon and then in a very tiny upstairs apartment above a tavern on 11th and Davis. That year in December, their first son Timothy was born. Mark, Sandy and David followed and within an 8 year period their small home was filled with children’s laughter, toys and lots of laundry! After Rita’s parents passed away in the early 1960s, the family moved to Pulawski Street. It was there in her own childhood home where she created a loving, Polish Catholic environment for her family. The family still continued attending St. Adalbert’s Catholic Church and school. Years later, after her children were grown and grandchildren came into their lives, Rita and Stas returned to Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Rita and Stas created meaningful memories on Pulawski Street where they remained for the rest of their days. Through the years Rita cooked Polish family favorites including kielbasa, kapusta, pierogi, golumbki, chrusciki, paczki, and meatballs to name a few. She rarely followed a recipe. She also enjoyed gardening in their small back yard. She loved digging her bare hands into the dirt to plant beautiful rose bushes, peonies, lilies of the valley, tomatoes and rhubarb. Rita loved to can fruits and vegetables, a tradition and practice she learned growing up. The downstairs cellar was stocked well with jars of tomatoes, corn, carrots, peaches, pears and other delicious canned items. She made a comfortable home for Stas and the kids and as their number one supporter, encouraged them to follow their own path in her own unique way.

Stas and Rita always celebrated Pulaski Days weekend in October with their children and friends. They later passed on and shared this tradition with their granddaughters, Jessica and Nicole. True to her love of all things Polish, Rita always dressed in bright Polish red for these occasions. Blue was Rita’s favorite color so it was only fitting that Stas and Rita’s favorite tune was, The Blue Skirt Waltz. A sight to see on the dance floor, Rita and Stas were quite a polka pair. Many trips took them to Chicago, Milwaukee and Frankenmuth for Polka conventions. Good times were celebrated on those bus trips! Later they would take several trips to Dallas, Texas to visit their daughter and made new Southern friends. Rita even knew a number of Polish swear words which certainly came in handy a time or two! Although she always maintained she didn’t swear, Rita loved to say, “I’ve forgotten a hell of a lot more than you’ll ever learn” and the family favorite, “You are so full of **** you need two *** holes!” Rita’s pet names endeared her to so many including Reet, Aunt Rita, Auntie, Mom, Ma, Momma Rita, Busie, Old Goat and Young Lady.

For 60 years, Rita and Stas shared the best of times along with some challenging times yet they never lost faith. They prayed often with rosaries wrapped around their hands, and with their deep Catholic faith never missed Sunday Mass. Rita prayed up to the end of her life especially to St. Anthony, her go to saint. Theirs was a life filled with smiles and silliness, kindnesses, ups and downs but always committed to each other. When their son, Mark died in 1979, it was no less a devastating time for them and their family, yet with faith as their guide and their strong family bond, they made it through. When Rita’s beloved Stas died in March of 2013, once again her strong faith and deep family ties sustained her, and she moved forward.

Through the years Rita filled her days with her love of arts and crafts. A jack of all trades, she also crocheted many gorgeous afghans for family and friends, decorated many unique wedding cakes including the wedding cake for her son David and daughter-in-law Sandy whom she loved dearly as her own daughter. She also dabbled a little at the sewing machine. She was a regular at Sacred Heart bingo and playing the lottery became a daily activity. When it came to television, the TV blared with sounds from episodes of Full House, Family Feud, NCIS, Ellen, and her all-time favorite movie The Sound of Music.

To Rita, her most important accomplishment and loves of her life were her two beautiful granddaughters, Jessica Marie and Nicole Ann. Rita and Stas’ life would never be the same again in 1987 and 1988 when they were blessed with as she used to call them her little “pupkas”, Polish for baby dolls. Jessica and Nicole learned many lessons from Rita and Stas as they spent most of their young lives in that cozy Polish house on Pulawski Street. Rita raised her granddaughters to be strong, independent, caring young women.

Rita possessed a deep connection to angels. Several angel pins would always decorate her clothing as well as collections of angels in her home. She even referred to her children, granddaughters and her young friends as her little angels.

Even Rita’s health challenges didn’t slow her down until she got older. As her final breaths drew near she was able to remain at home being lovingly cared for by her devoted family until those special angels came to carry her away to her heavenly home. Although she will be dearly missed, may the very thought of Rita’s loving smile and joyful heart bring fond memories of a woman dearly loved. God Bless Rita Staszkiewicz. Bye Love You Bye.

Mrs. Rita M. Staszkiewicz (Rosloniec), aged 91, of Grand Rapids, passed away at home on Friday, October 12, 2018, with her loving children at her side. She was preceded in death by her husband, Stanley “Stas” Staszkiewicz; her son, Mark Staszkiewicz; six siblings. She is survived by her children, Timothy Staszkiewicz, Sandy Staszkiewicz, Dave and Sandy Staszkiewicz; her grandchildren, Jessica (David) Stevenson and Nicole Staszkiewicz (fiancĂ© Josh Rop); her brother, Florian Rosloniec; sister, Evelyn Overholt; sister-in-law, Frieda Rosloniec; many nieces, nephews and friends. Rita was a lifelong Westsider and member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, 156 Valley Ave NW where the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, October 15, 2018, 11:00 AM. Burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM with the Rosary prayed at 7:00 PM. Visitation again on Monday at Sacred Heart Church from 10:00 AM until the Mass begins at 11:00 AM. Contributions in her memory may be made to Faith Hospice or Catholic War Vets #1500. To read more about Rita’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, please visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com.

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