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Rita Marie Saari

September 8, 1947 ~ May 20, 2019 (age 71)

Rita Marie (Skoviak) Saari, 71, of White Pine, chose to pass away peacefully at her home surrounded by family on Monday, May 20, 2019, to the arms of her Heavenly Father. She defeated pancreatic cancer by fighting two years longer than doctors expected.

Rita was born Sept. 8, 1947, to John and Pauline (Chopp) Skoviak in Ontonagon. She grew up in White Pine and resided there for all but 3 years of her life. She was proud to be a White Pine Warrior and graduated in 1965. Rita felt honored to be part of the first class to complete all grades to graduation at WPHS.

Rita met the love of her life, Donald Saari, while spending time at her beloved family cottage in Twin Lakes. Rita and Don married at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in White Pine on April 22, 1967. During their first years of marriage, Rita worked at the old White Pine Inn as a waitress, while Don worked for White Pine Copper Range. They settled in their home in 1972 in Rita’s beloved hometown of White Pine where she lived out the rest of her days. Rita welcomed her role into motherhood and was known as the “Head Domestic Engineer” of the Saari home, which she ultimately described as “magical”. In the 1970’s, Rita accepted Jesus Christ into her heart and continued to love and serve her Lord.

Rita was known for opening her door to any and all who needed a place of rest, a “cuppa” coffee, or friendly chat. Rita was active in various charities, with St. Jude’s Hospital and Ontonagon County Cancer Society as most near and dear to her heart. Rita loved gardening, writing letters, watching Poldark, dancing and singing to Golden Oldies, raising her six children, delighting in the growth of her precious grandchildren, and praising her Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. She loved to watch sports, especially University of Michigan football and basketball, and the Detroit Red Wings. Rita loved to spend time at the family cottage, breathing life into the sacred family getaway.

Rita will forever be known for her eloquent writing skills and loved writing letters to others. She will fondly be remembered for the dedication to her family, her undying love for her family, her endless generosity, her strength, her love of the color green, her excellent baking and cooking skills, and her impeccable sense of humor. Rita knew how to deliver a joke, tell a story, and make up songs on the fly.

Rita is survived by her husband of 52 years, Donald Saari of White Pine; her children Mark Saari, Melissa (Joe) Swinehart, Aaron (Alexis) Saari, Jeffrey Saari, Luke Saari, and Alexandra (Keith Ellis) Saari; grandchildren Connor Swinehart and Lily Swinehart; brothers Francis (JoAnn) Skoviak and Clem Skoviak; sister Donna White; brothers-in-law Ron (Maria) Saari, Dave (Colleen) Saari, Ken (Colleen) Saari, Rick (Cheryl) Saari, and Steven (Denise) Saari; sisters-in-law Patricia (Bruce) Racine, Elizabeth (Dan) Bowling, and Barb (Gary) Short; and many precious nieces, nephews, cousins, and special friends.

She was preceded in death by her father John Skoviak, mother Pauline Skoviak, brother John “Yaka” Skoviak, sister-in-law Joy Skoviak, brother-in-law Jim Noble, brother-in-laws Robert Saari & Robert White, sister-in-law Patty Saari, daughter-in-law Nicole Selzer, and special pet Pentu.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at the White Pine Community Methodist Church under the direction of Pastor Rosemary DeHut. Visitation will begin at 10:00 AM, service will begin at 11:00 AM, and a noon luncheon. Interment to follow at the Winona Cemetery located outside of Twin Lakes. Cane Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements.

The family would like to thank special friend Alicia Simmons Burgess & Gloria Ahola for their support and care of our precious wife, mother, sister, and aunt. The family requests in lieu of flowers to donate to the Ontonagon County Cancer Society.

Rita was a true pillar of the community of White Pine, and a beloved matriarch of the Skoviak family cottage. Rita touched the lives to all who knew her and will continue to be a beacon to those who love her. She will remain a true Warrior to all who knew her.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3.

Donations may be made to:

Ontonagon County Cancer Association
P O Box 282, Ontonagon MI 49953

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