Rita R. LeMin, age 86, of Claymont, DE passed away March 10, 2023 in Christiana Care, Wilmington Hospital.
Everyone who has met Rita LeMin has a favorable impression of her, but very few will say that they know her well. This is because she found fulfilment in her family. And they didn’t have to compete for her affection – they each got ALL of her love.
Rita Rae LaBrue LeMin was born in 1937 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the daughter of Hildreth L. and Loretta (Lester) LaBrue. Most of her friends and family probably know Rita from her time living in Boothwyn Pennsylvania through her high school years, marriage to Joe, and raising a family in Claymont, Delaware. The Rita we know was grounded by her childhood growing up in Coffeyville, Kansas. Being able to entertain yourself with simple pleasures, faith in God and his Son Jesus, helping others, and not expecting any shortcuts in life were cornerstones of her upbringing. The family moved east in 1949, and she quickly adjusted to this big change and her time at Chichester High (class of 1955) was joyful.
The jobs Rita held during and after high school, and again briefly after her husband became ill later in life, were not how she will be known. She met her husband, Joe, while working at Colorado Fuel and Iron in Claymont, which set the path for the rest of her life. They married in 1959. In a time when women were starting to participate more in the workforce, she was happy to be a stay-at-home mom and manage a lifestyle around Joe’s income. When it was time to help kids with homework or shuttle them and their friends to some lesson or practice, or serve as homeroom mother, this wasn’t an interruption but rather her primary focus in life.
In keeping with her values, family dinners and evenings together during the Golden Age of Television were all she needed for entertainment. Annual vacations in Stone Harbor, NJ were a special treat, punctuated by two epic road trips to Florida and one “out west” to the Grand Canyon and Texas (and briefly into Mexico) and another to Niagara Falls. When her children were grown, she took on the role of primary caregiver for her husband, and later her father, through lengthy serious illnesses, enabling them to remain at home.
Later in life, her son Tom and his wife Pin introduced her to Newport, RI, which became her “happy place”. She enjoyed every aspect of the history, opulent Gilded Age mansions, the coastal scenery of the Cliff Walk, and of course dining at wonderful spots for every meal. She also enjoyed her visits to Biltmore, Cape Cod, Cape May, Charleston, Daniel Island, Fort Lauderdale, Graceland, Hilton Head Island, Marco Island, Monticello, New Hope, Orlando/Celebration, Providence, and Savannah. Daughter Jill and her husband Tom were active in a local theatre, which allowed Rita to rekindle her love of stage shows that began when she was in high school. Additionally, some of her favorite pastimes included listening and talking with family and friends, reading, researching genealogy and various topics online, doing exotic digital puzzles, and playing dominoes.
In the last decade, although Rita was not comfortable traveling, her life was still filled by sharing in the achievements and passions of her children and their spouses. She was always a sounding board for her family, and helped continually in ways both large and small, including pampering her grandkitties. Most recently, she had a desire to volunteer some of her time, and again did not have to look beyond her family. During the past year, she helped her son Joe manage donated medical supplies that go to numerous nonprofit organizations benefitting those in need both locally and around the world, including surgical mission trips Joe’s wife Arlene participates in. Whether it was sorting supplies, checking expiration dates, or just bringing a lunch to Joe so he could keep plugging along, she contributed several days each week.
Rita’s passing creates many empty places in the lives of her loved ones that can only be filled with memories, because no one can ever take her place. Rita is survived by her sons Joseph D. LeMin, Jr. (Arlene) and Thomas F. LeMin (Charupin) of Claymont Delaware, and her daughter Jill LeMin Lee (Thomas) of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband Joseph Donald LeMin, and her brother H. Lewis LaBrue.
A Visitation will be held on Friday morning, March 17, 2023 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 3200 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE 19703 from 10:00 am until 11:00 am, where a Funeral Service will begin at 11:00 am. Burial will follow in Lawn Croft Cemetery, Linwood, PA.
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