Rita Rayball of Ellicott City, Maryland and Spruce Head, Maine passed peacefully at home in Maine with her family on May 4, 2021.
Born March 7, 1930, Rita cherished childhood memories of growing up in the loving embrace of a large Italian family on a small farm in Methuen, Massachusetts.
Soon after their arranged marriage, Rita’s parents, Vito and Carmela (Traverso) Carnevale emigrated from Bari, Italy eventually realizing their dreams by establishing the family farm in Methuen. Born to their parents late in life, Rita and her younger brother, Freddie, enjoyed the perks of having siblings old enough to be their parents. While the oldest siblings worked the farm and the local mills, the youngest were afforded earlier freedoms.
Rita’s deeply caring and compassionate nature led her to a nursing career. She completed her studies at Lawrence General Hospital and initially enjoyed pediatric nursing as an R.N. She met her future husband, Joseph Rayball of Andover, MA, on a blind date arranged by mutual friends. Rita and Joe were studies in contrast, drawn to counterpoints.
Following his service in the Korean War and at the time of their marriage in 1955, Joe was a gregarious broadcast journalism student. Later, he would serve as the News Director for local radio stations and moonlight as an events MC and DJ while Rita worked the hospital’s 3-11 shift as a young mother of 5 children in Salem, NH. With an endless reserve of caring and compassion, Rita somehow still managed to provide end-of-life care for her mother in their Salem, NH home.
As Joe focused more on government and politics, they moved their young family to Washington, DC where Joe ran Congressional campaigns and staffs. Rita did not return to nursing until later when their children were grown. She then came full circle and enjoyed geriatric nursing. Rita retired from a Catholic nursing home in Massachusetts. She and Joe lived in Seekonk, MA for much of their retirement. Rita built her later life around church, prayer, faith, family, reading, walking/hiking, time at the ocean in Maine, and the care and companionship of beloved animals.
Singularly kind, loving, positive, peaceful, and gentle, Rita was always a woman of deep and abiding faith in God and humanity. She kept it simple, encouraged others to do the same, and found joy in each day and everyone she encountered despite many hardships. Her 91 years were a lifetime embodiment of light, love, and spirit. She will be deeply missed by those fortunate to know her goodness.
Predeceased by her husband, Joseph Rayball, on January 11, 2014, Rita’s passing sadly marks the end of her generation of the large Carnevale family. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Joseph, Michael, William, Rose, Eleanor, Louise, Esther, Lena, Thelma, Mary, and Fred.
Survived by five children, grandchildren, a kind and caring sister-in-law, nieces, and a devoted son-in-law who was an endless source of loving companionship and laughter.
The family extends heartfelt gratitude to Dena Friedrichs Coughlin, RN and her team for exquisitely compassionate and capable hospice support. Rita and her family were also blessed with the exceedingly professional and peaceful care provided by Clearbrook Senior Care of Camden, ME. Final thanks to Rita’s kind neighbors, Nancy and Bill Bryant, who, along with Miss Maggie, always made Rita feel cherished and right at home.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a funeral mass at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at St. Monica’s Church, 212 Lawrence St. Methuen. Burial will follow in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Lawrence. There will be no visiting hours.
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