Posted by Steven Sylvester on May 16, 2021
Rita was the life of the party. Not a party? Didn't matter. She had a commanding presence that drew people to her. What an amazing person.
Posted by Crystal Reiss on May 5, 2021
Rita sparkled. I remember her as a five year old learning to read in the library with her mom, Stephanie. I remember her as a college student, caring for and looking after younger cousins at a playground. She enjoyed cooking with the family in Italy, at Lake Tahoe, in New Mexico. She took a moon hike up a mountain outside of Taps. She believed in social justice and the need to make a difference—and she did. There is an empty place in my heart now. I will miss her best self: the exuberance and enthusiasm that she aimed to share. Rita, I will miss you.
Posted by Shelley Sylvester on May 5, 2021
Rita was one of the first friends I made after moving to Las Vegas, and she was instantly unforgettable, between her energy and her intellect and her passion for others. She was the friend who did everything, whether it was fun group activities or one-on-one heart to heart conversations, or going on walks together and talking about ways to help the world become a better place. We miss you so much, Rita.
Posted by Sue Blattner on May 5, 2021
Rita is a beautiful old soul and she was my “Lovely Rita” for decades.
We always took the opportunity to play that old worn vinyl track whenever she visited and we particularly liked to scream “Rita”!!!! when Paul McCartney did the same. ❤️
I shall never sing that song again without screaming “Rita” as a tribute, every single time.
I watched the “mothering” she did as a small child (with my wilful and energetic sons who were her peers ) and could clearly recognise her innate sense of right and wrong when she wasn’t really old enough to know yet. She was never afraid to voice her opinion and she was always hopeful that she could change minds and hearts with truth and will.
In the early 2000s she frequently hung out at our house after school and she would visit with Steph at the weekends. We would laugh at ourselves while we chatted, and crafted, and made sense of the world. “We’re like a new-age old fashioned women’s group” she said. Warm, warm, memories and lots of laughter.
Around 2008/9 when my own life seemed to be falling apart at the seams, she would censure me about the actual value of worry (zero) and remind me that life moves in cycles. I listened. She was right.
I shall hold in my heart forever the memory of our last Christmas together. We all huddled around the table to play Pictionary on Christmas Night and Rita was furious at the poor design of the whiteboard easel (and loudly chided it ) until she realised that it was upside down. We literally fell about in hysterics. I can’t remember who “won” but that wasn’t really the point was it?
My lovely Rita. You old, wise soul. I am sure you have gone on to bigger and better things and that your purpose will continue.
I love you dearly ❤️ I shall miss you always.
“Auntie Sue”
Posted by Alisa Carse on May 5, 2021
Rita, I will think of you as a little star in the sky. I will hold on to so so many memories. You were such an amazing little kid. You were cool. You were keenly observant and so sensitive, aware, and tuned in. You connected with people authentically and easily starting when you were so young. You had gust and energy. I was blown away by your enthusiasm and preternatural brilliance. I remember how intertwined you and Tasha always were, two gorgeous, amazing girls, two peas in a pod, always together as kids, almost like twins. I remember the house full of animals and projects, the way your Mom, Stephanie, adored you and encouraged your passions. The happy, lively, cozy, loving home with Minao and Meera and our many gatherings as a big extended family that you loved so much. Willie adored you. You were drawn to each other from when he was tiny. When Willie was not yet three and Sam was born, I'd nurse Sam and Willie would cuddle next to me with his babydoll. Her name was Rita. Rita. Named after you. What I will always be grateful for is the way you connected. You embraced people, including me. Embraced us for who we are. You shared your passions and enthusiasms, your observations, and your causes. Like Aunt Barbara said, you were not contained. You were out there. And you wanted us to join you. You cared deeply about others and about making a more just and kind world. I'm sorry for the suffering you endured and so often overcame. You were a gift to the world, and we will try to carry forward, holding your intense engagement with the world and your loving heart in our hearts. 
Posted by Kristina Gunhouse-Vigil on May 5, 2021
I met Rita when she was about 14, through her older sister Tasha. Tasha and I were great friends and so by proxy I naturally became close to Rita. I used to look forward to her popping her head into Tasha's room in Martinez where we'd be studying and gossiping. She'd make some grand announcement about her next adventure, which often included advocating for all the causes she believed in. She was so incredibly magnetic and her joy and zest for life just spilled out of her, surrounding anyone nearby. She was someone so many of us wanted to be like, and still want to be like. Rita, I'm honored to have met you. Thank you for all the gifts you've left behind for us. Rest in power and in peace.
Posted by Erica Chew on May 5, 2021
I met Rita when working with her as she started her career in Applied Behavior Analysis. She would work in our office to supplement her hours between the in-home therapy sessions at clients' houses. She would sit toward the front door while helping make supplies for clients. She smiled and greeted everyone. That positivity and presence had an immeasurable impact on those that had the pleasure to work with her.
Posted by Anjali AnagolSubbarao on May 5, 2021
Rita we miss you, Rest In Peace - from Anjali, Murali, Anirudh,Mohith, Anjali's parents
Posted by Lindy Lavender on May 5, 2021
Rita came into my life during that awkward period of middle school when many of us are vacillating between wanting attention and wanting an invisibility cloak. Rita was the new girl, the very pretty, slightly mysterious, significantly more aware of how make-up works new girl and my peers and I watched her with curiosity and awe. She entered my world like great loves do, unexpectedly and right on time.
We developed a close friendship over the next few years. She taught me about acrylic paint and Beethoven. She convinced her father to let me tag along to top dog and naan and curry and taught me to make eggs and rice and to cook with chopsticks. She introduced me to sushi and gave amazing head massages and was universally up for an adventure. These, of course, are the small things.
Rita also made space for those of us who didn’t quiet fit, who were processing too much, who wanted to feel and were simultaneously afraid of how overpowering those emotions could be. She loved those of us who punched walls and wrote poetry and struggled to explain complex family dynamics. Even at a young age, she took her own grief and struggle and she used it to help others – she organized anti-war festivals in high school and mental health awareness events and poetry slams.
Rita also made it okay to be excited about life, to literally want to jump up and down with so much joy when you thought you might burst from it. She danced – literally and figuratively – though life. She danced at Mormon dances and gay proms and in Merrill college dining halls. She danced unapologetically through hallways in spaghetti straps and fancy skirts she convinced her dad to buy in France. She made you want to dance. She made you want to sing.
Rita was kind and she loved fiercely.
She loved her brilliant sister, her favorite person, her hero. She also loved her little brothers and was so excited when they were born. She loved parents, her aunts and uncles and grandparents and was always so excited to talk about her family. She extended that love to her friends. She taught us all to love more fully, more authentically and I hope only to love in her image now - with all of you.
Posted by Melissa Cooke on May 5, 2021
Today we remember your beautiful life Rita. You were an amazing force and brought so much light and happiness to those around you. May you Rest In Peace.
Tasha and family, sending you lots of support and love today, and every day.
Posted by Akira A. Kamegai-Cocita on May 5, 2021
You were a dear friend and a great cousin. Thank you for shining light into my life and guiding me in some of the difficult parts of my recovery. I hope love and happiness follows your memory forever.
Posted by Azumi Fuertes on May 5, 2021
Rita, I miss you so much.  May you rest in peace.
Posted by Phuong Vu on May 5, 2021
We happened to know Rita as a dearly good friend of our first born, Chris Vu. Rita was such a beautiful person, she was with Chris during college ups and downs times. We will forever miss her.
Rita was a very sweet and caring person, always taking good care of her friends and anyone who knew her. She was an excellent cook who shared her
meals with Chris and friends. We will remember her laugh and her smiling face. Heaven gains an angel today. Rest in peace, our dear sweet girl!
Rebecca Lieu and Phuong H. Vu
Posted by Bill Blattner on May 5, 2021
I always remember Rita as a little girl, when we would visit Livermore or the West Coast. She was sparkling, creative, enthusiastic. I have some photos of Tasha, Rita, and Willie from the early days. So hard to believe that two have passed on.

Willie adored Rita, and I know Rita loved Willie.

Deepest condolences with fond memories, from Bill Blattner, Alisa Carse, and Sam Blattner, and in memory of Willie Blattner.
Posted by VERONICA MC MANUS on May 5, 2021
I met Rita towards the end of 2012 when she joined our team of volunteers during my tenure as NAMI Contra Costa's Office Manager and the Spanish Programs Coordinator. Our volunteers covered the organization's needs(answered phones, prepared materials for classes, presentations, office work, etc); yet, I loved to use our volunteers' talents and passions beyond what office skill they may or not have. I learned that Rita loved the arts, and she had a passion for bringing mental health awareness to others and for breaking the stigma of mental illness; so, Rita and a group of other volunteers collaborated on the planning  of an event that I had in mind. The event brought together those with mental illness, families and friends, and the community in general. It was an event to bring awareness and to break the stigma of mental illness by doing an art activity. She created the flyer for this event and played a major role in the planning, execution and  the success of our event. Yes, our event was a great success, our event was featured in the Contra Costa Times( not just a blurb, but half a page with pictures was published). Through our flyers, the newspaper article, and the one month art exhibition hosted by Panama Cafe in Concord, we were able to bring awareness about mental illness and the hard work that needs to be done to eradicate stigma.

I don't believe in coincidences; the morning of our event, I attended a webinar by NAMI national, the topic presented that morning was about Art as Therapy... So, Rita, we did good, thanks for your help!!! ;-)
 Rita was a very sweet soul, and a joy to work with. My deepest and sincerest condolences to Rita's family and friends, may she rest in peace and may her memory be a continuous blessing to many!
Posted by Daniella Zucker on May 5, 2021
Rita you are loved and missed. May you rest in peace.
Posted by Tasha Kamegai-Karadi on May 1, 2021
I am grateful to have the time we had together. Thank you for finding your way back to me. These past few months were the best time I ever had with you. You filled my heart with the most warmth and happiness.

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