Rita M. Conway – Cumberland

Rita M. Conway – Cumberland

Rita M. Conway, born in Taunton, Mass., was a daughter of Joseph and Alice (Dame) Charland.

The Charland family moved to Cumberland, R.I., in 1933 where Rita met Eugene R. Conway who was to become her annoyance in the classroom and her husband in 1945. Widowed after 68 years of loving marriage, she died peacefully at home in Cumberland following a Mother’s Day celebration with her family.

Rita’s siblings called her the Sergeant, because she could get things done, a trait that served her well in life, first as a waitress at her father’s tap room, where customers quickly learned their manners; then at McLaughlin and Moran, where she and her soon-to-be sister-in-law, Barbara Conway (Brown), deftly made the books balance so that they could return to their competitive games of jacks.

She helped her husband revive his father’s bus business, her dining room serving as the first office of Conway’s Bus Service, with Rita as its first charter agent. During that time, Rita also served as the Cumberland Fire District Tax Collector; as a volunteer for St. Joan of Arc Church, The March of Dimes, and the Cumberland Library Association; and as a loving wife and mother.

Rita was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling, especially visiting her children and grandchildren in Arizona, Colorado, and Florida, where her pocketbook was always full and quick to open. She loved music and singing along with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Rita also loved flowers and had some lovely gardens. She was a ruthless weeder.

Rita is survived by her six children: Robert (Donna) Conway of Cumberland; Kathleen (Robert) Peck of Dartmouth, Mass.; Michael Conway of Miami, Fla.; Thomas Conway of Boulder, Colo.; Peter (Anne) Conway of Cumberland; and Julia Conway of New York City, as well as 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by four brothers and two sisters and is survived by siblings J. Richard Charland, Marguerite St. Jean, and Jacqueline Kaminski.

In keeping with her wishes, calling hours are omitted and burial will be private. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please sing a song to a child you love in her memory.

To express condolences, visit www.oneillfuneralhomes.com. Arrangements are by O’Neill Funeral Home, Cumberland.