ONEONTA – Rita Ann Wellman, 81, wife of a SUNY Oneonta professor and a lifelong community volunteer, passed away on Jan. 14, 2020, at her most recent home, the Plains at Parish Homestead.
She was born on April 24, 1938, in Milford, Conn., the daughter of Roy and Alice (McDermott) Nurenberg.
After graduating from Orange High School, Rita began studying sociology at the University of Connecticut. She transferred to Quinnipiac University and completed her sociology degree in 1960.
Following graduation, Rita spent three years as a social worker, serving what were then described as delinquent girls.
On June 22, 1963, Rita married her life partner, Warren Wellman, in Hamden, Conn. That September, Rita and Warren moved to Oneonta to begin their life together when Warren was offered an appointment as an instructor of foreign languages (French) at SUNY Oneonta. In June 1969, Rita and Warren moved to their residence in West Oneonta.
In the following decades, Rita pursued her many and varied commitments to community service and the arts. She was a lifelong volunteer and patron of a number of local organizations. Rita touched many lives at hospice and as an adult literacy volunteer. She served in several leadership roles in the Oneonta Federated Garden Club. Rita also made generous contributions to SUNY Oneonta, Catskill Symphony, CANO and Hospice, among others.
In addition to her dedication to local affairs, Rita traveled far and wide, first with Warren and later with friends; from France to New Mexico and Italy to Japan.
She was a lover of good paintings, delicious food, fine antiques, exquisite gardens and a nice glass of chardonnay. She was an accomplished crafts-person who excelled at every skill she undertook. Perfecting the arts of French cuisine, Origami, flower arranging, and spinning, dying and crocheting original wool creations were some of her many accomplishments. Rita made everything she touched a little more beautiful or tastier.
Rita was predeceased by her loving husband, Warren; parents, Roy and Alice; brother, Fredric; sister, Mary Jane; and many beloved, four-legged friends.
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Elaine Becker of Warwick, R.I.; and nephew, Lee (Kelly) Becker of San Clemente, California.
Rita was blessed with a wonderful marriage and the finest friends anyone could ask for.
Her dear and devoted friends will miss her kindness, discerning eye and mischievous wit.
A special thanks to Ginger, Barry, Mackenzie, Jamie, Amanda, Cathleen, Gianna, Kristie and Conner, Rita’s devoted caregivers. Their comforting and warm kindness kept Rita smiling and laughing.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made to Helios Care, 297 River St. Service Road, Suite 1, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are by Johnston & Stanimer Funeral Home, Morris.