Rita Cristi Merry, age 61, passed away on November 9th, 2020, after a long, hard-fought battle against cancer. She was born on October 12th, 1959 in New London, CT. She was a 1977 graduate of Robert Fitch Senior High School in Groton, CT. She lived in Connecticut and Florida throughout her life. While she was a longtime resident of Central Florida, she always had a fondness for her childhood home in New England; especially CT-style pizza and grinder sandwiches. She was a die-hard Patriots fan and enjoyed watching football games every Sunday. She also enjoyed gardening, arts & crafts, and family card games.
Family was always first and foremost in Rita’s life. Rita was a devoted mother and grandmother. She married in 1979 and spent her younger years at home raising her two children Joey and Valerie with her faithful Black Labrador companion, Molly, by her side. The family enjoyed many fall vacations in one of Rita’s favorite places, the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After the family moved to Central Florida in 1992, her children continued to enjoy so many years of childhood memories including spending time with her other “kids”: Joey and Val’s neighborhood close friends. Her love of family only grew stronger as she became a loving grandmother to 4 grandkids over the last 11 years. The grandkids always loved finding her Christmas morning wearing her favorite Mr. Grinch slippers.
After she divorced and as her own children graduated high school and grew older, Rita found another family as the long-time hostess at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Winter Springs. She enjoyed the daily interaction with her regular patrons and the staff at the restaurant, even more than her favorite Sogno dessert!
Rita was pre-deceased by her father, Orrin Merry of Green Cove Springs, FL., and her sisters Nalani Kerns of Orange Park, FL. and Claire Merry of Makaha, HI. Rita is survived by her mother Rita Cormier and sister Lila Darby (Joe) of Woodbridge, VA., and sister Dawn Prude (John) of Green Cove Springs, FL. Rita is also survived by her loving children: Maj. Joe Zujus, USAF (Laura) of Caledonia, MS., and Valerie Parker of Casselberry, FL. She also leaves behind 4 grandchildren: Madison, Joey Jr., and Caroline Zujus and Gage Parker.
Rita’s “Celebration of Life” Service will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (1515 S Semoran Blvd Orlando, FL 32807) on December 5, 2020 in the Family Life Center. There will be a reception with the family from 10 to 11 am and the service will begin at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a tribute donation in Rita Merry’s name to the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation at https://fcsf.org/ways-to-help/donate