Rita Piha

Rita Piha, eulogy by Rabbi Hassan
Rita cherished wife to Nace.
Sister to Becky Benaroya
Beloved Mother to Leonard and Mickey and to Larry and Ros.
Grandmother to Jeff, Dan, Elana and Etan.
Great-grandmother to Alivia, Nathan, Talia and Sammy

Rita Piha was born in the central district of Seattle April 8th, 1928. She was the youngest of four children born to Dona and Joe Benoun. Rita grew up going to Ezra Bessaroth and Sephardic Bikur Holim, since her father was from Rhodes and her motherís father was from Turkey. She went to Washington Grade School and she graduated Garfield High School in 1946. She had lifelong friends Vivian Adatto, Marcelle Adatto, Lily DeJaen, Regina Amira, Kaye Mizrahi and Mary Azose.

Becky Benaroya, Ritaís sister said about Rita that her family always came first, whether it was her parents and siblings or later with her husband, children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren the family was always number one.

Becky, Rita, and their sister Nellie would always joke about what would you do if you had one small piece of chocolate. Would you share it with your kids or eat it just yourself? Nellie and Becky would always say they would eat it themselves but Rita would always want to share it with Leonard and Larry. This story epitomized Ritaís personality, she was faithfully devoted to her family, to her husband and to her children.

Before she got married she lived with Becky and her two small children. Rita was a wonderful aunt doting over them like she would later do for her own children. She was a wonderful daughter to her parents too.

Rita and Nace were setup on a blind date and it was on the second date that Nace knew he was in love. They got engaged very soon after that and they were married on October 30, 1948. Leonard was born March 20, 1950 and Larry on September 13, 1952. Rita was the best mom you could ever hope to have. She kept the family together and she worried about everyone else.

Rita was the perfect home maker looking after her husband and children. Leonard and Larry always came home to their mother home, having a snack ready and then talk about their day at school. She always wanted to keep the boys safe and preferred that they have their parties at home so she could keep an eye on them. Everyone loved Ritaís school lunches and all of Larryís and Leonardís friends would come over to try and get Rita to make their lunches too!

Rita loved family get togethers and she was always organizing them around the Jewish Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and the American Holidays. She made everyoneís favorite meals. If she made salmon for the adults sheíd make something special for each of the grandkids something different and unique for each one. Rita was a fantastic cook she really enjoyed making biscochos and borekas, pasteles, bowikoos and her world famous pishkado con tomat that all of the extended family would fight over to make sure they got the last piece or even the last tray! There were some people who even traded magina for her pishkado.

Rita was a great mother in law. She offered advice when she was asked but she never interfered. She always encouraged and agreed with whatever Ros and Mickey decided to do. She never gave you a hard time she was always so positive.

Indeed, the only time that Rita voiced a dissenting opinion was this year with the upcoming election. Whatever you do, donít tell me if you vote for Trump!

As grandparents, when they were healthier, they would attend as many events of the grandkids as possible. Basketball, baseball, soccer, crew and school plays. Rita was supportive of whatever the kids or grandkids wanted to pursue even if they against something they still managed a way to support it. Years ago, Leonard wanted to hitchhike across Canada. Rita hated the idea but she still drove up with Nace to drop Leonard off at the border. She was worried sick about him the whole time!

Rita kept a spotless home. She was always dusting and cleaning. Without being told, people always took their shoes off when they came to the house. Rita never made readymade meals or frozen meals everything was always cooked fresh and lovingly prepared. Rita loved to buy in bulk, in huge quantities even before we had Costco.

Despite some major health issues, Rita fought on to the end she was a fighter and a survivor. She was a survivor of breast cancer, bladder cancer, a collapsed lung which we lived with for many years. Her friends joked that she didnít just have a catís nine lives she had 3 catsí lives!

Rita loved you so much Nace. The loving and caring that she showed for you when you got sick was incredible. That love that she showed looking after you was so strong.

The last few years, Rita has had wonderful care givers. The family would like to thank Eva and Kidi for all their wonderful support.

Leonard and Larry took on their motherís caring side by taking an active role in Rita and Naceís care.

Larry took on the lionís share of the help. In Jim Wilnerís words ďin her last years, Larry has been an amazing son to both of your parents, sacrificing and dedicating so much of your time to look after them. This is a testament to who your mother was that she raised such a responsible and caring sonĒ

Larry, you always made sure your parents would have home care and made sure they made it to Drs appointments and always made sure her pills were taken properly. You cancelled family trips just to be there for your parents especially for your mom.

Leonard you helped so much too. Keeping the house together doing small repairs and you were always there whenever Larry needed help or wasnít available. Leonard you were always there on the weekends.

Larry and Leonard you are two wonderful sons who were blessed to have the kindest, sweetest and most nurturing of mothers.

Nace you had the love of your wife for 67 years she kept going all these years to be at your side.

Funeral services were held on Thursday, July 28th at 11:00 pm at Seattle Sephardic Brotherhood Cemetery, Shoreline, WA.


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