Rita B. Beaupre
Dover - Rita Blais Beaupre, 89, formerly of Pinewood Drive, Somersworth, passed away on September 7, 2012 at Watson Fields of Dover, with her family at her side.
Born June 22, 1923, in Berlin, New Hampshire, she was the daughter of Wilfred and Eva (Turcotte) Blais. She graduated from Berlin High School in 1941 and was a long time resident of Somersworth prior to moving to Dover in 2009.
Rita was employed at the Brown Company in Berlin until her marriage in 1951 to Donald J. Beaupre. She was a retirement specialist with the Industrial Relations Department of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for 23 years, retiring in1985.
Family and friends were her foundation; she touched many lives in meaningful ways with her dignity, grace, ready smile, and endless interest in others.
Rita was a 12-year cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with a rare form of oral cancer, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), in 2001.
She was a devout Catholic and member of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, St. Martin Church. Rita was an avid book and newspaper reader and loved music and flowers. She enjoyed skiing, knitting, and travelled to many countries.
In early October, 2011, she was admitted to the Hyder Family Hospice House in Dover but was released three weeks later when she was moved to Watson Fields in Dover, an assisted care facility rooted in the Hospice philosophy. Both organizations exemplify compassion and kindness - their management and associates were a source of tremendous love and support for Rita in her final year.
Pre-deceased by her husband in 1992, she is survived by a daughter Francine B. Dupont and her husband Gene of Eliot, Maine; a son, Andre P. Beaupre and his wife Karen of Dover; four grandchildren, Timothy Beaupre and wife Tarah of Madbury, Marissa Dupont of Newfields, Nicole (Beaupre) Clickman and her husband Joshua of Dover and Gregory Dupont of Bozeman, Montana. Rita was blessed with seven great grandchildren: Benjamin, Emma, Molly and Jack Clickman and Camden, Ainsley and Madigan Beaupre.
Other survivors include a brother, Reverend Roland Blais of Manchester; two sisters, Mrs. Lucille Montminy and Mrs. Theresa Horan, both of Berlin, NH as well as many nieces and nephews. Her sister, Fernande Doucet of Spring Hill, Florida died in February 2012.
Friends are invited to call on Tuesday, September 11 from 6-8pm at the Tasker Funeral Home, 621 Central Avenue, Dover, NH.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be con-celebrated by her nephews Rev. Paul Montminy and Rev. Marc Montminy at Saint Martin Church in Somersworth on Wednesday, September 12 at 11am. Burial will follow in Mt. Cavalry Cemetery.
Flowers are acceptable or donations may be made to Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation P.O. Box 442, Needham, MA 02494 or to the Hyder Family Hospice House 285 County Farm Rd. Dover, NH.
Rita Beaupre eulogy, written and delivered at the funeral by her son, Andy Beaupre, on Wednesday September 12, 2012
Fran and I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you for being here this morning. Your friendship and love mean the world to us. While Mom’s passing isn’t easy, her life deserves to be celebrated. After all, she lived 89 years – how many people do that? And nearly every one of those years was wonderful. How many people get to say that? We were all so lucky to have her in our lives so long. I used to pepper her with questions about her life while we drove to Boston for cancer checkups, when we looked through her photo albums or at Sunday morning breakfasts. Breakfast was always her favorite meal - poached egg, wheat toast, crispy bacon and lots of black coffee. Mom was born on the summer solstice in 1923 in Berlin, New Hampshire. She was the fourth child of five. Dad always said Mom’s first words were spoken while she was still in the womb. It’s hard to disagree. The art of conversation defined her from the start. She was interested in other people and always asked a lot of questions. Everyone she touched can testify to this. Her parents, Eva and Wilfred, were the center of her universe, as were her sisters Lucille, Fern, Theresa and brother Roland. So was her extended family living close by in the booming mill town they called home. Mom was a North Country girl through and through, always appreciating a fresh snowfall and colorful foliage. When she was five years old, the U.S. entered the Great Depression. One of the stories she told her entire life – with great pride – was how her Father – who owned a meat & grocery store called Blais Market – “fed half of Berlin for free during that time, but we never went without.” She left a mark at St. Regis Academy, her elementary school. I asked her about one particular photo where she was seated at her desk in the front row of a class full of students. Did the nuns always put her there? She said yes. I asked why. “Because I was always a devil, I probably talked too much. My mother was at school all the time, but she sided with the nuns... I was always being punished. One day I was kept after school, but while the nun was gone, I left, went down the fire escape and ran home.” That was our Mom, from the Get-Go. Fiery. Alive. Spunky. Sometimes demanding. And always, very social. She had her Mom’s backbone and her Dad’s way with people. The friendships made in grammar school stayed with her – literally - until her dying days. Two of her childhood schoolmates from Berlin - Lorraine & Gert - saw each other right to the end. They were at the funeral parlor last night. She graduated from high school in 1941, and in December that year the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. Gas, coffee and tires were in short supply during the War, but so were the men. So Mom would travel to Hampton Beach with her girlfriends to sun themselves and attend dances at the Casino. “We couldn’t dance close to a boy in those days,” she said, “so we jitterbugged.” During the War, Mom visited New York City several times, taking the overnight train out of Portland, Maine. She told me, “Lorraine had connections, and so we were able to stay at famous hotels, go to nice restaurants and we even saw Frank Sinatra. It was exciting.” She was still excited when she told that story. When the war ended, some of the men returned to Berlin, but the one who stole her heart was from the Seacoast, Donald Joseph Beaupre. They met in 1949, married in January 1951 and started their family in 1952 when Fran was born. I came along 13 months later. Mom and Dad worked side by side for several years at Beau Studio, then tag-teamed again for 20+ years at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. They raised a family and we spent lots of time at rousing family get-togethers at White Lake, the beach, in Berlin, and Somersworth. Mom’s gift of gab was never more evident. Her reunions with her sisters were something to behold – I have no idea how they didn’t pass out from lack of oxygen from talking so much. She always loved a good car ride and told me about the times her Dad would pile everyone into the car in the early morning and they’d go to Montreal and back in one day to see Roland at the Seminary. One time they even ran out of gas. So it was no surprise that we travelled to Canada, the Midwest, NYC, D.C. and Florida, usually to meet up with family. Mom insisted we see the Sound of Music and Gone with the Wind. We went on hikes, camped and did a lot of skiing. She loved to laugh and didn’t mind being the center of attention. Together with four other couples, they entertained themselves for years with crazy New Year’s Eve, birthday and Halloween parties. I remember seeing their party photos lying around and wondering what was going on with my parents – those crazy hats, those weird costumes! After Fran and I graduated from high school and college, we started our own families. Mom became a grandmother with Tim’s birth, followed by Marissa, Nicole and Greg. She loved her grandkids and with my Dad attended many activities, from baseball and soccer to ice skating and karate. Mom & Dad spent a lot of quality time together after they retired. They visited European countries, golfed, danced, took courses, went to lectures and museums and had many adventures. After Dad died suddenly in 1992 at the age of 67, she looked outward, not inward, joining a Grief support group in Manchester and a Seacoast knitting group, making new friendships that lasted the rest of her life. It wasn’t easy, but the more people she was with - and the more she chatted up a storm - the better she felt. As a 12-year cancer survivor, she was an inspiration. Her deep faith and devotion to Mary and Saint Joseph helped her get through it. Mom maintained her home at Pinewood Drive for many more years, and proudly kept walking up and down the stairs to her basement to do her laundry. She kept herself in good shape, walking two miles a day, believing this was a key to future good health. She was right. She went on a cruise with her sister Lou, took several trips with her sister Theresa, walked the Holy Land and went on endless shopping excursions with Fran who reminded me how they closed the Northshore Mall together several times! Mom met many new people via Paul & Marc, extending her “Aunt Rita” persona to hundreds of people who weren’t even related. They all loved her. In 2003, we celebrated her 80th with a two-day reunion in Dover and at the beach that spanned both my Mom and Dad’s families. She loved having everyone around. Mom saw three of her grandchildren married and became the great grandmother of seven with the births of Ben, Emma, Camden, Ainsley, Molly, Jack and Madigan. This amazed her. In early October 2011, she was admitted to Hyder House in Dover. They gave her two weeks to live, but she walked away three weeks later, thanks to some special help. She wasn’t ready to let go. She moved to Watson Fields Assisted Living Facility in Dover and quickly walked and talked her way to new heights of popularity, making fast friends. Fran and I are so very grateful for the Hospice-based care Mom received at Hyder and Watson – what caring, loving, kind, compassionate people. Mom’s only regret in her last two years was her inability to send out her precious greeting cards. She was the Queen of Greeting Cards, sending Christmas greetings to over 150 people, handwriting notes inside each. She never missed a holiday, birthday or anniversary. She was always proud of the cards she received in return, and displayed them prominently. In June, we celebrated her 89th birthday and in late August she attended Florida’s 100th birthday party. The first week of September things changed, and she went downhill fast. When her time came, it was a bright, sunny day, a summer solstice kind of day, and she was surrounded by loved ones. Mom wasn’t in pain, and kept her dignity and class right till the end. All we leave behind are memories, and in Mom’s case, she left us a boatload to savor. Now that’s a great life. So if you hear thunder in the days ahead, don’t be startled. That’s just my Mom and Dad reunited after 20 years, dancing up a storm with her sister Fern & her husband Russ, like they used to do. They’re having a grand time, making lots of noise… …and you can best believe Mom is talking a blue streak that will literally last an eternity. We love you Mom. You will be with us always.