68 – Big Pond
It is with great sadness that we the family announce the passing of Cape Breton's first lady of song, Rita MacNeil, on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
A gentle soul with a heart of gold and the voice of an angel, Rita's music spoke of her love of home and family, the courage to rise above life's challenges and the hardworking men and women that tie this country together. "Working Man", "Flying on Your Own", "Reason to Believe", "I'll Accept The Rose Tonight" and "Home I'll Be", are just a few of the songs that endeared Rita to fans in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. With determination and a passion for writing songs and singing, Rita pushed beyond a profound shyness and found her way to the world stage.
Born in Big Pond, Cape Breton on May 28, 1944 to the late Neil and Catherine "Rene" MacNeil, Rita was one of eight children. A mother to Laura (Dana) and Wade (Lori), a grandmother to Aden, Rachel, Anthony and Zoe, a dear friend, and a sister, Rita was a Canadian icon-a woman who had a dream that became a reality – who brought joy and inspiration to so many. She is survived by her dearest friend Rose and precious pups, Joy-Joy and Abbey, siblings Roseanne, Malcolm (Ruth), Mary (John), Cathy (Don), Neil (Elizabeth), Anne, Clem and by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Rita is also survived by her former husband and good friend David.
Rita was predeceased by 2 brothers-in-law David and Gerald and a nephew Shawn.
As per Rita's request, cremation has taken place. Friends of Rita and family can gather at T.W.Curry Parkview Chapel, 755 George Street, Sydney on Saturday, April 20 from 4 – 8 pm. Funeral service to celebrate Rita's life will be held on Monday, April 22 at 2 pm at St. Mary's Church, Big Pond with Rev. Joe Gillis officiating. Rita would have wished if donations were to be made in her memory, that they be made to one's choice of a Cape Breton charity. Online condolences to www.twcurry.com
And you never let the hard times
Take away your soul
And you stopped the tears from falling
As you watched the young ones go
You're as peaceful as a clear day
You're as rugged as the seas
I caress you, oh, Cape Breton, in my dreams.
Home I'll Be – Rita MacNeil