Longtime Clute resident Rita Sue McGrath passed away early Nov. 26, 2019, at Creekside Village nursing home at the age of 86. Rita had suffered from a variety of illnesses including diabetes and congestive heart failure for a number of years.
Rita was born on Sept. 7, 1933, in Fort Payne, Ala., as the daughter of Bertie Yancey and Reuben Lyons. As a child, Rita had a mischievous side – she used to crawl into her cedar chest toy box to hide from her mother. Rita’s eldest son, Paul, still has that cedar chest.
Rita later moved to Fairhope, Ala., and attended Foley High School, where she was an excellent student. Upon graduation, Rita decided to join the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in the Quantico, Va., area and rising to the rank of staff sergeant. After leaving the Marines, she remained in the Quantico area where she met Marine staff sergeant Tom McGrath. The couple moved to Texas and were married in Angleton.
Rita had a generous heart and was a devoted mother to her two sons, Paul and David, sacrificing much so they could receive educations. She had a vibrant and fulfilling life until illness overcame her in her last decade. She was a softball player, Sunday School teacher and Cub Scout den mother. She liked to play shuffleboard, bingo, gin rummy and dominos, particularly “Shoot the Moon,” a game she passed on to her sons. She was also a huge fan of Elvis Presley.
Rita worked briefly as a legal secretary and was later the head bookkeeper at McGill Maintenance for several decades. Her co-workers at McGill Maintenance affectionately called her “Sarge” as a tribute to her Marine Corps days. After leaving McGill Maintenance, she operated a restaurant and later operated an ambulance service until her retirement. Along her journey she obtained an associate degree from Brazosport College. She was also a longtime member of Unity Missionary Baptist Church.
Rita is survived by her son Paul and wife Liz, of Houston, and her son David and wife Mariluz, of Clute. She is also survived by six grandchildren — Brian McGrath, Jennifer Hendrick, Thomas McGrath, Kristina Rosado Cox, Alex Rosado and Estefania Angulo-Cortes – and five great grandchildren – Avery McGrath, Madeline McGrath, Grant McGrath, Hailey Kay Hendrick, Elijah Thurman Hendrick and Autumn Jane McGrath.
Visitation is set for Dec. 3, 2019, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Lakewood Funeral Chapel in Lake Jackson. Funeral services will be held Dec. 4, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Unity Missionary Baptist Church, 198 Cedar St. in Richwood, TX., with Pastor David Thompson presiding. Interment will follow at Lakewood Funeral Chapel.
Pallbearers are Brian McGrath, Alex Rosado, Thomas McGrath, Ruben Aguilar, Aaron Kaspar, Clinton Lobpries and Isaac Riden. Honorary pallbearer is Louis Guidry.
The family would like to thank Creekside Village and Amed Community Hospice for the care and attention paid to Rita.