Rita M. O’Connell, 87 years old, of Fayetteville, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Rita was born on October 6, 1934 in the city of New York, to the late Paul and Alice O’Connell. A visitation and Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, April 1st at 10am and 11am respectively. Services will be held at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Village Drive with Father Gregory Lowchy presiding at the Mass.
Rita received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a double major in Sociology and certificates in Criminal Justice and Social Work from UNC Pembroke. She later received a certificate in Non-Profits from Duke University. She was very excited and proud to serve as Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Cumberland County for several years. She loved her job and helping make a difference in the lives of people in need. Military men, women, their families and veterans were especially near and dear to her heart. She was familiar with the particular struggles and daily challenges they faced.
Perhaps the most wonderful gift Rita gave to her family was her tremendous and unwavering Faith in God. She is the beloved mother of Steven O’Connell of Winterville, Lisa Pickles of Charlotte and Gavin Pickles of Newell, West Virginia. She is survived by her three children; five grandchildren, Orin Patrick, Caelan Joseph, Kristy Michele, Ian Geoffrey and Jedediah Paul; and one great grandchild, Kansas Grace. She was preceded in death by her husband, James; her sister, Kathleen and brother Paul.
Rita will be missed by countless friends, associates, the Charlotte area Hospice community, the St. Thomas Aquinas Faith community, and especially her family. In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Vietnam Veterans of America, who is committed to serving the needs of all veterans.
Services are entrusted to Sullivan’s Highland Funeral Service & Crematory, Inc.