Rita Eileen (Ward) Haley

August 2, 1931 ~ August 29, 2020 (age 89)


Rita Eileen Haley



Mrs. Rita Eileen Haley (89) passed away gently of natural cause on Saturday, August 29, 2020, in the town of Athabasca, Alberta.

Rita was born in Rochester, Alberta on August  2, 1931. Her father Morris Ward worked for CN Rail, and her mother, Penelope Ward, was a one-room schoolteacher. Rita and her beloved younger brother Jack were raised in a home filled with love, learning, and music.

Gifted with an ability to play any musical instrument by ear, Rita performed with her father’s band at community events all around the countryside from the time she was a young child to her teenage years when she would often complain that her friends were having a great time on the dance floor while she was working on stage.

Her talent and warm personality caught the eye of a young farmer, Steve Haley, who instantly knew she was the gal for him. They married on September 17, 1951, to raise a family of four children (Gary, Daryl, Brenda, and Darcy) and build a major mixed farm operation together.

After her children grew up and left home, Rita directed her time and creativity to opening Flowers by Rita a floral shop in Athabasca that she would own and operate for several years.

When she wasn’t creating beautiful bouquets, she was caring for her aging mother, and playing with her 10 grandchildren (Jason, Jeffery, Geneva, Megan, Mason, Kathryn, Mitchell, David, Kenny, Steve).  

Rita will be remembered as a strong, kind woman with a big heart who loved nothing more than hosting and feeding a houseful of family, friends, and neighbors. May her music last forever in our memories.

Due to COVID,  a memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at an appropriate time in the future.

Those who wish, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimers Society of Canada; 20 Eglinton Ave W., 16th Floor, Toronto, ON M4R 1K8, or to the Athabasca Extendicare; 4517 53 St, Athabasca, AB T9S 1K4.


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