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Official Obituary of

Rita (Wallace) Hartnett

March 3, 1929 ~ February 21, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Rita Hartnett Obituary

Rita A. Hartnett, 94, of Winthrop, Massachusetts passed away peacefully at home on February 21, 2024.

Rita was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 3, 1929. She is preceded in death by her parents Carolina and John Wallace, sister Genevieve A. Messina and brother John A. Wallace. She is survived by her daughters, Nancy (Osborne) and her husband Walter, Patricia and her partner Timothy Walker and Elaine (Mauro) and her husband Vincent, her sister Carol A. English and her grandchildren Jessica Shelton, Sean Osborne and Lindsay Osborne. Also survived by several loving nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews and their families.

Rita grew up in East Boston at Orient Heights, the middle child among two sisters Genevieve and Carol and a brother John. Her mother Carolina Cazzaniga emigrated from Italy, meeting her father John Wallace in Boston. As a young girl, she enjoyed helping her aunt at the corner store, especially appreciating the candy aisle. Rita graduated from Mount St. Joseph Academy in Brighton in 1946. Rita was a devoted single mother who cherished and raised three young girls in the early 1960’s. She took employment in Winthrop, Boston and Cambridge at the State House, Winthrop Police Station, Stone & Webster Engineering Corp., and Prospectus, LLC until she was 85 years young. Rita was very resourceful using public transportation to go to work and family activities, imparting that experience to her girls to be independent and strong.

Rita loved to travel, visiting her family across the country, many times bringing live lobsters along for the ride. She especially enjoyed visiting her grandchildren in the Midwest. Rita also had a variety of interests: ballroom dancing, annual family Asti parties, attending the MassCap at Suffolk Downs, collecting albums of many musicians, in particular Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Engelbert Humperdinck, crossword puzzles, knitting and crocheting, animal lover (several adopted pets), Charlie Brown and Snoopy, to highlight some of her favorite things. Many family members are enjoying her beautiful custom afghans, mittens, ponchos and scarves. She enjoyed taking her girls on adventures for Bailey’s ice cream sundaes, sitting in the bleachers at Red Sox games, attending her brother’s Boston Marathon races and rummaging for deals at Filene’s Basement and Jordan Marsh. Another Rita highlight was taking her girls to Revere Beach for amusement rides, pizza and picture booths. Closer to home Winthrop Highlands Beach was a favorite spot for beach picnics. Traditional family events were summers at Newfound Lake and school vacation week skiing at Mt. Snow. As a lover of holidays, you could count on Rita to be dressed in style with coordinated accessories. In addition, the family looked forward to her signature specialties of homemade raviolis, stuffed artichokes, miniature cupcakes and boiled cookies.

Not to be diminished, anyone that knew Rita, knew that she was an avid Boston sports fan and really loved her Celtics. In retirement, her favorite pastime was everything and anything sports.

Additionally, Rita was a breast cancer survivor. She was strong, funny, witty and determined. Rita had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. The world is going to be a lot quieter without her robust laugh and infectious life-of-the-party persona. She lived a long, gritty life and has provided countless wonderful memories to celebrate her.

Family and friends are cordially invited to attend the visitation from the funeral home on Friday, March 1, 2024 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. The funeral will be conducted from the funeral home on Saturday, March 2, 2024 at 9:00 AM followed by a funeral mass in St. John the Evangelist Church 320 Winthrop St., Winthrop at 10:00 AM. Services will conclude with the interment in the Belle isle section of Winthrop Cemetery.

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March 1, 2024

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Ernest P. Caggiano & Son Funeral Home
147 Winthrop Street
Winthrop, MA 02152

Mass of Christian Burial
March 2, 2024

10:00 AM
St. John the Evangelist Church
320 Winthrop St.
Winthrop, MA 02152

Interment following funeral service
March 2, 2024

Belle Isle section Winthrop Cemetery
100 Kennedy Rd.
Winthrop, MA 02152


350 Huntington Ave., Boston MA 02130


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