Rita Golden Massey was born in Little Rock, AR on October 14, 1942, the first child of Marguerite and Peyton Golden. Rita died on April 10th, Good Friday, after a 3½ year fight against Leiomyosarcoma.
Rita’s family moved to Batesville when she was eight years old. She continued her education there, graduating from Batesville High School and attending Arkansas College, now Lyon College.
Rita married Don Massey in 1961, and they were blessed with two sons, Mark and Michael. Rita truly enjoyed her family and loved doing things for them. She was always available as a Room Mother, Cub Scout leader, attending baseball, basketball and football practices and games, chaperoning trips and hosting her sons’ friends at their home. The Catholic High football players loved to spend time in the game room between two-a-day practices and before the Friday night games. Later on, there were a few fraternity parties at their house after the Arkansas Razorback Little Rock games. Of course, Rita was always there to make sure things stayed under control.
Rita and Don’s family extended and grew as their sons married and started their own families. Rita had three brothers, so she was surprised and delighted when their first grandchild was a girl! Rita was always happiest with the grandchildren at her house or babysitting at their houses. Her grandchildren were her greatest joy…as good a mother as she was, she was as loving and giving a grandmother as there ever has been. Rita could have written a book on proper grand-parenting – she never let more than 2 weeks go by without seeing her two grandchildren in Memphis until the oldest was around age 10. There were many meetings half way between Little Rock and Memphis dropping off and picking up the grandchildren.
Rita and Don joined St. James United Methodist Church just a few months after it was chartered in 1969. Rita served as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, bell choir member, chaperone for youth bell choir trips and as a member of the Administrative Board. She also attended the Tuesday Bridge Group and the Cancer Support Group.
Rita enjoyed traveling with family and friends, entertaining at home, and playing bridge and Mah Jongg. Again, most of all, she enjoyed being wife, mother and grandmother. Some people never find their calling, but Rita found hers in motherhood and grandparenthood – always supportive, loving and willing. She was a member of Chapter I, P.E.O. and The Country Club of Little Rock.
Rita is survived by her husband, Don, son Mark and his wife Suzanne, son Michael, grandchildren Caroline, Patrick and Peyton Massey and step-grandson, Steven Duncan. Also surviving are her mother, Marguerite Golden, brothers and their wives, Lex and Ellen Golden, John and Gaye Golden, Greg and Angie Golden, six nieces and nephews, six great nieces, and several cousins. She is also survived by her close and loving friend, Nancy Vines. She was predeceased by her father, Peyton Golden, her grandparents, all of her aunts and uncles, and two cousins.
A visitation was held at Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 West Markham from 5:00 to 7:00pm on Monday evening, April 13th.
A memorial service was held at St. James United Methodist Church at 11:00am on Tuesday, April 14th with Rev. Fred Haustein officiating.
Thank you to Rita’s friends and family who were always there for her. She loved you all and often said that you were her angels here on earth. There is no doubt that if love could have saved Rita, she would still be here today. Her request was that you remember her with a smile, and she wishes you love.
The family also wishes to express thanks to Dr. Larry Mendelsohn and his staff of Little Rock Hematology Oncology, Dr. Gail McCracken, Ginger and Tiffany of Pulmonary Associates, and Arkansas Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. James United Methodist Church, 321 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock, 72212, LMSarcoma Direct Research Foundation, P.O. Box 52697, Tulsa, OK 74152, or to Arkansas Hospice, 5600 W. 12th Street, Little Rock, 72204.
Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home, www.ruebelfuneralhome.com
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