TAMPA, Fla. – At the age of 95, Rita Dorothy (Pinette) Thomas died in her daughter’s Florida home on Sept. 18, 2020. She was born on Feb. 3, 1925 in Fort Kent to her loving parents, Wilfred and Catherine (Paradis) Pinette.

She is preceded in death by her parents; and her two brothers, Richard Pinette of Michigan and Patrick Pinette of Connecticut; and her husband, Linwood Thomas of Zephyrhills, Fla. (2007).

She is survived by her daughter, Linda Gardner and husband Ted of Chelsea, their son Corey Gardner, his wife Lyndsy, and their children, Hunter and Tanner, all of Sidney. Also surviving is her daughter, Nan(cy) Thomas of Tampa, Fla., and her two children, Catherine and Thomas McInnes, both of Gainesville, Fla. Rita leaves behind her wonderful sisters-in-law, Janice Thomas of Port Richey, Fla. and Della Kimball of Augusta; many additional relatives; as well as Lorraine Menter, her close friend of 28 years.

Rita was a 1944 graduate of Fort Kent High School, after which she attended Northeastern Business College in Portland. She worked as a bookkeeper for Cascade Lodge and Cabins in Scarborough but due to suffering from tuberculosis, she relocated to Northern Maine Sanatorium in Presque Isle from 1948-1950. Upon her recovery, she attended Kennebec School of Commerce for bookkeeping. After a move to Augusta, she worked as a bookkeeper for the Cumberland County Tuberculosis Association, as well as for Cross Flowers.

In 1955, she married Linwood Thomas of Augusta, the son of Horace and Edna Thomas (Hoyt). Rita performed clerical work in Augusta for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. After her daughters were much older, she worked as a sales associate for Sears, Roebuck and Co. of Augusta and then as clerical staff for Central Maine Business Machines, Inc. on Western Avenue. Rita was a devout member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, yet she always maintained a deep love for her Roman Catholic faith. Over the years, she did volunteer work for her parish, the American Heart Association, and other charitable agencies, including (years later) Sunrise of Pasco County, a domestic violence shelter.

In 1989, she and her husband moved to Florida as “snowbirds.” In 1992, they established permanent residence at Casa Del Sol in Zephyrhills, Fla., a park in town that blessed Rita with many friends. It was her residence until her move to Rosecastle of Zephyrhills in February 2019, at the age of 94. Rita leaves behind the large assisted living staff, most notably medical technician, Tiffney Oneal, and activities director, Marcee Riddle. We shall be forever grateful to the many staff members who tried to make the preceding six months easier.

Our wonderful mother, who earned the nickname “Saint Rita” from her former son-in-law, Glenn McInnes of Gainesville, was cremated. Her remains will be buried in Central Maine Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Augusta. There will be no memorial service for our mother.

Should you wish to honor her memory, please donate to your local hospice or to Gulfside Hospice and

Pasco Palliative Care of

Land O’ Lakes, Fla.,

an agency instrumental in making both Rita’s and her husband’s passings as comfortable as possible.

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