AUSTINTOWN – Rita Mae Roberts, 80, died Monday, September 5, 2022, at Humility House.

She was born June 21, 1942, in Youngstown, a daughter of Martin George and Sara Louise Streb Novotny.

Rita was a 1960 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School and worked at Youngstown State University, as a secretary in the human resources department.

Rita was a prolific baker, alongside her sister, Shirley, and together their feats in the kitchen are legendary. Their holiday treats, and the cookie tables they prepared for friends’ and relatives’ weddings will live on in family lore. Rita was a devoted mother, never missing one of her children’s activities. She was unquestionably kind, caring and considerate, always thinking of others first. A lover of music, Rita played in the Fitch High School Marching and Warren Junior Military bands, and could often be heard harmonizing to songs on the radio. Her family’s annual camping trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were another joy in her life, as were her casino trips (especially when she won). She was actively involved in card club, garden club and bowling leagues.

Rita is survived by her husband, Ralph Roberts, whom she married on June 18, 1966; her three children, Vincent Roberts of Cornersburg, Teresa Ankrum of Austintown and Dominic (Stephanie) Roberts of New Jersey; sister, Shirley Sedlar; brother, Martin (Karen) Novotny; three grandchildren, Olivia DiPio (26), Robbie Ankrum (19) and Anneliese Roberts (2); and many nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel.

Prayers will begin at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at the funeral home, followed by an 11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Interment will be at  Greenhaven Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, and in remembrance of Rita’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at

Arrangements are by Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel, 4303 Mahoning Ave., Austintown.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rita Mae Roberts, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Sunday, September 11 at the following approximate times: 6:27 p.m. on WYTV and 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV.