Rita Ann Abate (nee Martin) passed away from natural causes on Sunday, January 24, 2021, in St. Augustine, Florida, at the age of 83. Born on July 26, 1937, she was raised in the Chicago, Illinois area. The second of seven children, she was the first-born daughter of Tom and Helen Martin, both Irish immigrants. Rita grew to be a true beauty possessing a grace that provided a certain savoir faire socially and athletically.
She met the love of her life, Mario Andrew “Andy” Abate, at a party in Chicago in 1956. They married on September 14, 1957 and moved to their first home in Berwyn, Illinois in the early 1960s after their oldest daughter was born. In the next six years they welcomed three more daughters, and eventually in 1964, a son solidifying their family base. In 1964 the Abate family moved to Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where Rita and Mario raised their five children. They moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida in 1983 where they remained for the duration of their lives together. Rita made many friends during her lifetime and travelled the world with her husband, family and friends.
Rita was a devout Catholic with broad and varied interests. She read voraciously and dabbled in the arts: painting and sculpting for years. An ardent tennis player, she also golfed and enjoyed playing cards. She loved having family over and entertaining neighbors and friends. She had a great admiration for all music and adored dancing. Fiercely proud of her Irish heritage, she considered St. Patrick’s Day “her” holiday and for many years she and her siblings would dance the jig at weddings and parties.
Among many professions, Rita was an astrologist, beauty consultant, graphics designer, realtor, non-practicing registered nurse, day trader and an entrepreneur. Above all, she loved her husband, five children, their spouses and her grandchildren passionately. Vivacious, elegant and sage, it was mostly her warm loving nature and charm that brought joy to anyone that happened to be in her life or cross her path.
The true essence of Rita Anne Abate is a treasured piece of colorful art infused with love that will remain forever in our hearts.
Predeceased by her brother, Tom Martin and her grandson, Alexander John (A.J.) Abate, she leaves behind her beloved husband of 63 years, Mario; her cherished children, Mary Jo (Bob) Bramson, Carolyn (Tom) Lowenthal, Laura (Steven) Schaffer, Donna (Jim) Potter and John (Kim) Abate; 17 adored grandchildren and three precious great grandchildren. She also leaves behind her much-loved sisters, sisters-in-law, brothers, brothers-in-law, many nieces, nephews and her dear friend, Dolores Croneberger.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church with Reverend Matthew King as Celebrant followed by inurnment in Our Lady Star of the Sea Columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rita’s name to St. Jude’s Research Hospital: https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/GiftFunds/GiftFunds?px=6907440&pg=personal&fr_id=39300 or donate to the Loras College Abate Scholarship Fund, https://alumni.loras.edu/abate