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Rita DION

Rita Belle Dion, born on January 15, 1921, in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, was the eldest of two daughters born to George and Muriel Greenwood. In 1931, her family relocated to Vancouver and settled in a three-story house at Grandview Hwy and Renfrew St. The ground floor of their residence served as a grocery store that served the local community for many years.

After graduating from Britannia High School, Rita attended Business College and later secured a position at CKWX Radio Station. It was on her way to work one day that she met a charming young man named Lomer Dion, who happened to be of French Canadian descent. This encounter marked the beginning of their love story and life together. In preparation for their wedding on November 27, 1941, Rita embraced the Catholic Faith and underwent instructions to be baptized.

Over the next two decades, Rita gave birth to 11 children: Sherrill Weeks, Gail Jiles (Steve), Glenn, Steve (Christine), Verne (Sherry), Victor (Marlee), Charlene Askew (Rodger), Leigh (Filomena), Lindsey (Lorene), Dennis (Tina), and Peter (Louise). Throughout her life, Rita had a passion for singing and actively participated as an anchor alto in parish choirs. She also joined the “Sweet Adelline’s” and the Handel Society of Vancouver. Additionally, Rita dedicated her time as a volunteer, serving in numerous leadership roles within the Catholic Women’s League of Canada. One of her most memorable experiences was being part of the central committee for the Papal Visit of Pope John Paul II. Rita and Lomer were among the small group who bid farewell to the Pope on the airport tarmac, where Rita expressed her gratitude for his acknowledgement of the choir at the Mass in Abbotsford.

Rita was deeply engaged in her community, affiliating herself with organizations such as the Surrey Pro Life Society and the Surrey Cancer Society. She enjoyed playing bridge and cribbage, and had a profound love for travel and visiting her family. In her later years, Rita resided at Pacific Carleton Manor, Morgan Heights Residence, and Evergreen Terraces. Though she faced memory challenges, she always managed to name her 11 children in the correct order when reminded. The family expresses their heartfelt appreciation to the caring staff and volunteers at these residences where their mother spent the final years of her life.

On October 24, 2023, at the remarkable age of 102, Rita passed away peacefully with her rosary in hand. Her Funeral Mass will be held at Good Shepherd Church on Monday, November 6, at 11 a.m., followed by burial at Gardens of Gethsemani Cemetery, with her son, Fr. Glenn, presiding over the service. Throughout her long and purposeful life, Rita held Faith, Family, and Service as her guiding principles and dedicated herself to their preservation. May she find eternal peace in her rest.

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