Rita C. Gilbert

PORTLAND – Rita C. Gilbert, 98, of South Portland, Maine, passed away at her son’s home on Dec. 12, 2019.

The daughter of Edward and Mary (Shugrue) Lucy, born in Glendale, California, Sept. 18, 1921. They and her younger sister Ellen T. Lucy moved back to her mother’s ancestral home in the Harvard Square area of Cambridge when she was 5-years-old. Rita graduated from Mount Joseph’s Academy in 1939. She joined the U.S. Navy Waves early in World War II, working in the Philadelphia war office until the end of the war. She met her husband, Paul, at a dance in Revere Beach in the summer of 1943. After the war they married in June of 1946 in Boston. After her husband’s work as sales manager with Flying A Oil, later Getty Oil transferred the family to Rutland, Vermont, by the early ’50s, then to South Portland in 1957 where they settled.

Rita was a housewife, avid artist and she earned her real estate license and dabbled in the field for a short time. Her hobbies included collecting Persian carpets and many types of small antique items. As members of Centerboard Yacht Club, the family enjoyed many years motoring to the islands of Casco Bay. Many excursions to their good friend Ted Rand’s wharf on Little Diamond Island included being entertained by Don Doane’s Band. Rita became part of “backstage” at Portland Players Theater performing miracles with make-up for the performers for more than 30 years, making lifelong friends. In 2008, she was honored to be inducted into the Portland Players Hall of Fame. She and her husband traveled extensively. Their journeys were faithfully documented on the slides he took of the trips to be shared with family and friends. They instilled a love of travel in the family. In later years she travelled with groups from the theater or going on her own to wherever she wished. She toured the globe, planning where in the world where she would spend her next birthday. She traveled over 25 countries, India, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco were her favorites.

She was quite a reader, counting as her friends the librarians of South Portland Public Library, especially the Branch Library where I suspect she had her own parking space. Rita passed her love of reading on to her children. Later in life she enjoyed her view of Casco Bay from her Spring Point Condo sitting with her beloved cat, Lucy. She often said, “A journey of thousands of miles starts with a single footstep”.

She was predeceased by her husband, Paul J. Gilbert and sister, Ellen T. Lucy. She is survived by son, Paul Jr. and his wife, Barbara, of Charleston, S.C.; daughter, Joan Morris and fiancé, Robert Verhoeven; daughter, Ellen Crosby and fiancé, Ken Bushey; granddaughter, Julie Lydon; grandson, Patrick Lydon; son, Christopher, his wife, Maranet; grandson, Viceroy of Portland; sister-in-law, Mary Gilbert; former son-in-law, Warren Lydon; as well as dear friend, Derry Rundlett, and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church in South Portland on Monday, December 23, 2019 at 11 a.m.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at South Portland Nursing Home for the care she received the last four and a half months of her life.

Arrangements entrusted to Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at www.hobbsfuneralhome.com.