McEllen, Rita D

Rita D. McEllen, 88, of Galesburg, died at 2:17 a.m. Thursday, May 8, 2014 at Seminary Manor, Galesburg.

Rita was born August 1, 1925, in Chicago, the daughter of Simon and Theresa (Pichorski) Jarka.  She married Arthur McEllen on January 24, 1948 in Franklin Park.  Art preceded her in death on July 5, 2004.  Rita is survived by seven sons, Joseph, Timothy, Matthew, Paul, and Peter (Kim) all of Galesburg, Michael of Elmhurst, and Thomas (Marsha) of Maryville, MI; four daughters, Margaret (Charlie) Perez and Suzanne McEllen both of Galesburg, Mary (Kent) Henry of Davenport, IA, and Kathleen (Brian) Shields of Naperville; 17 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.  She is also survived by one brother, Eugene Jarka; and two sisters, Sandra Franch and Noella Tominaro.  She was also preceded in death by one infant son, Mark; a daughter-in-law, Norma McEllen; and one brother, Daniel Jarka.

Rita was a very active member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, being active in many different things in the church including the Ladies of Mary, served as a lector and Eucharistic minister, and the choir.  After the kids were raised, Rita worked for a few years at Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan.  Rita loved sports, especially any Chicago team.

Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.  Rev. Msgr. Ernest Pizzamiglio will officiate.  Burial will follow in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.  Visitation will be Monday, May 12, 1014 from 6-8 p.m. at Watson-Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory, Galesburg.  Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in honor of A.J. Perez and Emily McEllen and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.