YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Rita Klein Dunlea died peacefully surrounded by love on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.   

Rita was born in the midst of an unseasonably bad snowstorm on March 16, 1932, in Youngstown, Ohio to Marie Wolfe and Michael Klein. 

She graduated from St. Joseph Middle School and attended Ursuline High School, class of 1949. Rita went on to study at St. Elizabeth’s School of Nursing.

Her education served her well as she practiced nursing in Youngstown, Miami, and Washington D.C.

In May of 1955 Rita married the love of her life, Fred Dunlea; their song was “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time” by The Andrews Sisters. Together the two started a medical practice, traveled the world and built a home in Youngstown where they raised their ten children. Rita filled her home with love and ensured that all felt welcome in the Dunlea house. Over the years she hosted eight international students who she considered a part of her family.

Rita lived a life dedicated to her family and her faith. She was a founding member of St. Christine’s parish where she served as a Eucharistic Minister, member of the Care Team, and assisted with the RCIA and Pre-Cana classes.

She loved to be active in her community and was a member of the Seton Club, Driftwood Garden Club and a founding member of the La Leche League in Mahoning County. She loved going for walks in Fellows Garden and filled her own backyard with flowers every year.

Rita leaves behind ten children, Fred (Amy), Jim (Patricia), John (Barbara), Tom, Tim (Leslie), Laura (David Gedra), Karen (Bob McClurkin), David (Julie), Beth (Ben Blake) and Robert (Lisa); 31 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a brother, Len Klein (Nancy); a sister-in-law, Norma Klein and many nieces and nephews to cherish her memory and carry on her legacy of love and service. 

She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Dr. Frederick Dunlea MD; her parents, Marie and Michael Klein; her brother, Ray Klein and a beloved daughter-in-law, Mary Liz Squeglia Dunlea.

Her family will keep her memory close and be thinking of her every time they plant their gardens in spring, make her famous potato salad for a summer picnic, hear a John Denver song, or take the time to place the ornaments perfectly on the Christmas tree.

The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Hospice House on Sharrott Road, who cared for Rita with skill, kindness and compassion.

Family and friends may call from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Friday, August 18, 2023, at the Fox Funeral Home, 4700 Market Street, Boardman.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday August 19, 2023, at St. Christine Church, 3165 S. Schenley Avenue, Youngstown, celebrated by Rev. John Jerek. The family asks that everyone meet at church for Mass for Rita. Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery.

Memorial donations can be made to the Hospice House, 9803 Sharrott Road, North Lima, OH 44514 or Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44509.

Family and friends of Rita may visit to leave condolences for the Dunlea family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rita (Klein) Dunlea, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Thursday, August 17 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.