YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Rita DeFrances passed away Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 14 days shy of her 90th birthday, at Evergreen Woods Rehab Center, Springhill, Florida under the care of hospice and surrounded by her loving family.

Rita was born November 16, 1932, in Youngstown, the seventh child to Salvatore and Philomena Yorio Capuzello.

She was a Boardman High School graduate, later earning her cum laude Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Youngstown State University. She also attended Ursuline College in Cleveland and attained her Master’s in Theology from Duquesne University.

She taught fifth and eighth grades at St. Nicholas School in Struthers for 16 years, then became the director of Religious Education for 16 years, followed by her position of Pastoral Minister for ten years. She retired in 2006. 

She was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society, the Diocesan Pastoral Ministers and Directors of Religious Education, was a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Nicholas in Struthers, St. Paul the Apostle Church in New Middletown and St. Francis Xavier Church in Spring Hill, Florida and belonged to the Altar Guild.  

On July 25, 1953, Rita married Rocco DeFrances, who preceded her in death on March 14, 2016. They had two children, Anthony (Eileen) DeFrances and Barbara DeFrances-Bieber (Tony Sferra). Her family grew to include the loves of her life, her grandchildren, Jennifer Reilly (Tom), Matthew Rupe, TJ (Jordyn) Rupe, Michael (Sarah) DeFrances, Kevin DeFrances (Ashley Jensen) and Danielle DeFrances and her great-grandchildren, Roman and Mia Tontini, Cameron, Jordan and Alyssa Rupe, Alexandria Rupe, Luke and John Swinson, Izabella and Holden DeFrances, Skyler Neilsen and Antonia DeFrances.  

Rita loved her gambling trips with her sisters, nieces and friends. She was amazing at crossword puzzles and the “Jumble.” She was very crafty, loved to read, play “Word Cookies” and spend time with her family. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren gave her great joy. Her first words on every phone call were, “How are the kids?” She took long rides with her friend, Richard Colbath, enjoying the beautiful Florida scenery and looking for all the different types of birds.  

Besides her parents and husband, Rita was preceded in death by her son, Anthony; her sisters, Rose Jackett, Ann Zerella and Mary Scarnecchia and her brothers, Frank, Nick and John Capuzello. 

There will be a memorial service in Spring Hill, Florida at a later time, to honor Rita’s life.