NEWARK: Rita Stepner McHale, 93, died peacefully on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at her home surrounded by family.
Friends may call from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9, 2022, at Paul L. Murphy and Sons Funeral Home at 127 East Miller Street Newark, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Celebrated at 10am on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 at St. Michael Church, 401 S. Main St. in Newark. Burial will be in Newark Cemetery.
Memorials in her name may be made to St. Michael Church, 401 S. Main Street, Newark, NY, 14513, Laurel House, 224 Fair Street Newark, NY, 14513, or Wayne County Humane Society, 1475 County House Rd Lyons, NY, 14489.
Rita was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Lester Stepner and Marie O’Brien Stepner on November 15, 1929. She moved to Newark in 1937 where she resided for the duration of her life.
Rita graduated from Newark High School in 1948, Syracuse University in 1952, and Columbia University Teachers College in 1954. She taught for one year before marrying James J. McHale, Jr., on July 9, 1955. They shared 55 years of marriage until his death in 2011. Rita and Jim raised their 6 children in the home where she grew up.
After raising her family, Rita returned to the classroom teaching 3rd and 4th grade at Norman R. Kelley School in Newark for 20 years. She retired in 1992.
Through the years, she was involved with many activities at St. Michael Church. Rita and Jim also managed the Newark Food Closet for several years. Rita was an active member of the Newark Garden Club and enjoyed the time she spent with her wonderful friends. Rita also enjoyed her adventures as she traveled throughout the world with her husband by her side.
Rita is survived by her 6 children, their spouses, and 12 grandchildren: Mary C. McHale and Joseph Castellano of Glen Head, NY; James McHale and Hiroko Goto of San Francisco, CA; Maureen and David Burke of Sandy Springs, GA; Kathleen and Timothy Tanea of Newark, NY; Matthew and Andrea McHale of Albany, NY; and Sheila McHale Alvares and Kevin Alvares of Victor, NY.
Grandchildren include Claire and Cecilia Castellano, Kei McHale, John, Daniel and Shauna Burke, Christopher and Sarah Tanea, Connor and Daniel McHale, and Emma and James Alvares. She is also survived by 2 sisters-in-law and several nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by her dear and only sister, Elinor Stepner Malone, in 2014.
A special thank you is extended to her daughter and son-in-law, Kathleen and Tim, for their constant support over the years. The family is also forever grateful to the caregivers who enabled Rita to stay in her home during the last year, and to special friends and neighbors Don and Marie Leisenring who treated Rita as family.
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