Rita Carol Mariano Lagace, 83, of Miami, Florida, bid her final farewell on October 23, 2023, leaving behind a legacy as vibrant as her personality.
Born on December 6, 1939, in Quincy, Massachusetts, she was known to her loved ones as Rita , Auntie, and the Queen. She was a force to be reckoned with, breaking stereotypes and spreading joy wherever she went.
Rita is survived by her brother James J. Mariano and his wife Patricia, a sister Anna Mariano McDermott. Rita’s step-sons Kevin L. Finneran and his wife Rita, Larry Finneran and his wife Linda.
Step-daughter Sandra Lagace and her partner Cor and Step son Nick Lagace of the Netherlands.
A grandson Kevin W. Finneran and his wife Kelly and two beautiful great grandchildren Hannah and Connor Finneran.
Many loving nieces and nephews she adored, always stayed connected with, advised, traveled with and in many cases was a second mother, and even a best friend. She always had a listening ear and generous heart for her family. She was the glue that kept the family connected.
Lastly many lifelong, wonderful friends and neighbors.
She was preceded in death by her first husband Kevin L. Finneran Sr., second husband Russel DiMatteo, and third husband Cornelius Francois Lagace, and her beloved parents, Guerino Mariano and Mary Grace Vaccaro Mariano. Her brother William J. Mariano, sisters Helen Mc Sherry, Ruth Rober, Lillian Harris and Laura Bertone.
Rita, a true Quincy High School graduate, and Drum Majorette, later in life donned the cap and gown to proudly receive her master’s degree graduating Magna Cum Laude from Barry University in Miami. She channeled her intelligence and charisma into a remarkable career, starting in the Veterans Services Department for the City of Quincy. She held the position of Office Administrator for the city Solicitor of Quincy. With her determination, she swiftly climbed the ladder, becoming the Chief of Police’s Office Administrator.
Life brought Rita to the vibrant streets of Miami, where she embraced the role of Executive Assistant to Mayor Carlos Gimenez. She had the city in the palm of her hand, making things happen and leaving her mark. But Rita wasn’t just about her career; she had a heart full of compassion.
She volunteered as a teacher for illiterate adults, because she believed everyone deserved a chance to shine. She also lent her time and talent to the Miami Shake a Leg Foundation, making waves of positive change.
When she wasn’t conquering the professional world, Rita had a few tricks up her sleeve. She whipped up a storm in the kitchen, creating and publishing a family cookbook filled with her beloved mother’s recipes, alongside heartwarming memories, captivating pictures, and even a pinch of family ancestry. It was a recipe for love and a delicious way to keep the family connected. She then developed a passion to research further into her family’s ancestry, finding and connecting to distant relatives, again gathering information for another family book and heirloom for all to enjoy.
But wait, there’s more! Rita was more than just brains and kitchen finesse. She was an active member of her community, even taking charge as the HOA President for Belle Meade Island. She made sure everyone’s voices were heard while rocking the role like a true leader.
And let’s not forget her wanderlust!
Rita jet-setted across the globe, gathering stories and experiences to share with her loved ones. She knew how to live life to the fullest, and she did it with style and grace.
Now, as we bid farewell to our dear Rita, our very dear Auntie, our Queen, we gather to celebrate her incredible journey at Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Avenue, Quincy, on Monday, November 13, from 4 – 7 p.m. A Memorial Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint John the Baptist Church, 44 School Street, Quincy, on Tuesday, November 14, at 10 a.m., before she takes her final rest at Blue Hill Cemetery, 700 West Street, Braintree. It’s a bittersweet moment, but let’s remember Rita’s zest for life and the laughter she brought to our hearts.
Rita Carol Mariano Lagace will forever be etched in our memories as a trailblazer, a kitchen magician, a community champion, and a globetrotting enthusiast. Her spirit lives on, reminding us all to live each day with a twinkle in our eyes and a skip in our step. Rest in peace, dear Rita, and may your legacy continue to inspire us.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making donations in Rita’s name to Shake-A-Leg Miami, 2620 S Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove, FL 33133 or the American Cancer Society, 3 Speen Street, Suite 250, Framingham, MA 01701.
You are invited to visit www.thesweeneybrothers.com or call 617-472-6344.