Rita Lessard Obituary

Rita  Marie Lessard
Rita Marie Lessard

May 7, 2020
Born in Oakwood, North Dakota
Resided in Vancouver, Washington
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Rita Lessard, 99 years old

Rita passed away peacefully of natural causes at Discovery Nursing and Rehabilitation of Vancouver, WA.

Born in Oakwood, North Dakota on April 16, 1921 to Amede Patnoude and Orpha Bellmore, Rita was the third of five of their children (Arthur, Olive, Clarabelle, and Vivian). In 1930, she was placed in Saint Patrick’s Orphanage led by Father Brook and the Sisters of Charity in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan along with her two older siblings, and it was there that she received her education. Every summer she traveled by train to stay with her father and older siblings in Leoville, Saskatchewan. At the age of 15, she stayed in Leoville and worked at the only restaurant in town, a Chinese restaurant, and attended church at Saint Therese de L’Enfant Roman Catholic Church with priest, Father Alexandre Grimard.

In 1939, when her father passed away, her brother Arthur brought her to stay in Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan where she kept house for a farmer where they lived. Years later, her uncle Max brought her to Grafton, North Dakota where she met Arsene Lessard. They married on February 24, 1941. Rita and Arsene had their first child, Art on January 1, 1942 and second child, Jim on January 6, 1948. While in Grafton, she helped Arsene with janitorial work at the Grafton Clinic and the Metropolitan, worked at Dairy Queen and the Senior Center coordinating recreational activities, and together they attended Saint John’s the Evangelist Catholic Church. When Arsene retired in the 1980s, they “snowbirded” to Mesa, Arizona and eventually moved there. They worked together at a local McDonalds serving coffee and greeting people, attended two different catholic churches, and Rita frequently could be seen playing BINGO at Fort McDowell Casino. In 2009 she moved to Washington state to the Woodland Convalescent Center, and years later, in 2016, she moved to Discovery Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Rita was loved by everyone with her smile, laughter, sense of humor, and uncanny knack for socializing through dancing, playing cards, and telling entertaining stories. She will be dearly missed as everyone touched her life as much as she touched theirs.

Rita is survived by her sister Vivian, sons Art and Jim, Art’s ex-wife Betsy, Jim’s wife Betty, grandson Chris, granddaughters Nichie and Melissa, Nichie’s husband Steve Siegel, Chris’ wife Jennifer, foster grandson Martin Dufek and his wife Rebecca, and great-granddaughter Isabella and foster grandchildren Kyla and Chloe.

No services will be held at this time. Rita’s ashes will be laid to rest next to Arsene in Grafton’s Saint John’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers or donations, please share memories and hug your loved ones.




Funeral Home
Evergreen Staples Funeral Chapel
3414 NE 52nd Street #101
Vancouver, WA US 98661