Rita Veronica Donato (Petersen), 89, of Metuchen, passed away early Friday morning, April 26, 2019 at the home of her loving daughter and son-in law with whom she had lived for the last year.
Born in Perth Amboy; she grew up in Fords, the youngest of a family of 9 children with a huge pond in her backyard next door to a farm with cranky turkeys that used to chase her. Mrs Donato moved to Metuchen when she married Phil Donato and lived there for most of her life. Mrs Donato was a homemaker while her two children were in school and then worked for Greater Media and JFK Hospital in Edison before retiring in the late 1980’s. She was a devoted member of the First Baptist Church of Metuchen and volunteered for several church programs including MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) taking care of children while their mom’s attended services, Women-2-Women Mentoring as a Prayer Warrior, Saving Stitches, crocheting items to donate, and was a Mission-Aires participant. She was also involved with the Dynamics Sunday School, Ladies Bible Study and Women’s Retreat program and was a member of the Eastern Star.
Mrs Donato had a full happy meaningful life. She loved fireworks, holidays, flowers, coffee (hot!), ice skating, parties and all animals, especially bunnies. She rejoiced in every cardinal she saw and could often be seen in the supermarket parking lot throwing bread to the birds. She kept a large jar of peanuts by her back door for the squirrels. She was a devoted and loving mother who always, always put her children first. She was exceedingly generous and loved providing food to stock food pantry’s, often creating “themed” bags for breakfasts and special occasions. Mrs Donato contributed to many children’s, veteran’s and animal charities all throughout her life.
Rita is predeceased by her parents, Hans and Catherine Petersen; both of whom immigrated as young people from Denmark and Ireland respectively, and her 8 brothers and sisters.
Rita is survived by her daughter, Rita Ann Donato-Edwards and her husband Timothy of Dunellen; her son, Philip Michael Donato Sr. and his wife Audrey Lisa of Middlesex; 4 grandchildren, Amie Lisa Bass, Julia Anne Borowski, Lia Kate Donato, and Philip Michael Donato Jr.; 5 great-grandchildren, Muradd Bass, Ja-Shon Bass, Alina Giselle Borowski, Justin Michael Donato, and Tamia Sarai Bass; and many nieces and nephews. Mrs Donato also leaves behind her loving feline companions Taylor and Jamie who will continue to be well cared for at her daughters home and she will be greatly missed by her devoted friends and protectors Nelly, Bailey, Raleigh, Riley and Stella.
The visitation will take place Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from 3-6 PM and Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 10-11 AM at Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen. The funeral will take place Wednesday at 11 AM at the funeral home followed by the interment at Hillside Cemetery of Metuchen under beautiful pink flowering dogwood and cherry trees.
In lieu of flowers donations can be sent to North Atlantic Westie Rescue.