SANDUSKY, Ohio — Rita Marie (Guerra) Astolfi, 87, passed away peacefully early morning, Saturday, March 14, 2020 with her family at her side, in her lifelong hometown of Sandusky, Ohio, at the Stein Hospice Care Center.
Rita was a proud wife, mother, and matriarch, whose kindness and strength — particularly following the loss of her husband of 43 years, Joseph Astolfi (1998) — will forever leave an imprint on those who loved her.
Born Jan. 3, 1933 in Sandusky to Attilio and Desolina (Savini) Guerra, Rita was the eldest of three siblings, and grew up on Milan Road in Sandusky’s Little Italy neighborhood. She was a graduate of the Sandusky High School Class of 1950.
Rita met Joe a few years later at a dance hosted by the Italian-American Beneficial Club. They fell in love and were wed on Oct. 29, 1954.
Rita cherished her Italian heritage and her identity as a daughter of the Republic of San Marino. She and Joseph, born in San Marino, passed that love onto their three children. And they worked tirelessly to give their family a better life, and better access to all the opportunities that America afforded.
Rita and Joe traveled often. They enjoyed spending time with their friends — playing bocce, playing cards, or just socializing at the I.A.B. Club. Rita was an avid reader and movie-goer; she loved puzzles and animals. In the summer months, she enjoyed visiting Cedar Point and soaking up the sun.
No one left Rita’s home without a smile on their face — and perhaps a smudge of pasta sauce on their sleeve. Her home-cooking was unrivaled, as was her ability to melt away troubles with a hug and a few reassuring words.
Rita had worked at Universal Clay Products, and she was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, a life member of the I.A.B. Club Ladies Auxiliary (and past officer) and La Comunita' Sammarinese di Detroit.
She joins in death her beloved husband ,Joseph and her parents. She is survived by her children, David (Susan) Astolfi, Diane (Jim) Fitzthum, and Denise (Dennis) White, all of Sandusky; her brothers, Paul (Margaret) Guerra of Sandusky, and Ken Guerra of Kona, Hawaii; seven grandchildren, Jamie (Jason) Roth, Tony (Brandy) Fitzthum, Joseph and Courtney Astolfi, Nicole, Erin and Autumn White; three great-grandchildren, Lilly, Carmella and Addyson Fitzthum; and nieces, extended family, and friends.
Visitation will be held at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday morning, March 17, at the David F. Koch Funeral & Cremation Services, 520 Columbus Ave, Sandusky. Prayers will be recited at 9:40 am at the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 510 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky. Fr. Monte Hoyles officiating. Entombment will be in the Cedars Gallery Mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery, Sandusky.
It was with a heavy heart that her family and friends must say “Ciao, Rita.” But they do so knowing that her gentle spirit lives on through the people who knew and loved her.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to Back to the Wild Inc., P.O. Box 423, 4504 Bardshar Road, Castalia, Ohio 44824 or to Stein Hospice Service, Inc., 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, Ohio 44870.
Your memories and words of comfort may be shared with Rita's family at davidfkoch.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rita Marie (Guerra) Astolfi, please visit our floral store.