Rita Leone Falleri Garcia was born May 11, 1949 in Eureka to Dorothy Lucille Renfroe Falleri and Bruno Giordano Falleri. She passed away in her sleep on August 1, 2021.

In 1979 she married the love of her life, Gerard Garcia, who had emigrated from Cuba at the age of 12. They had one child, Mario.

Rita attended Eureka schools where she was an excellent student and enjoyed running and swimming, and she graduated from HSU with a degree in education and a teaching credential. Her most rewarding job was working with children in the Manila recreation program.

Rita was very energetic and capable and had many interests, including talking; discussing politics; listening to gospel, ‘60s music and blues; reading; following true crime stories on TV; swimming at local rivers; having picnics at Freshwater Park and other meals with friends and relatives; going to the casino; giving rides to friends; clipping and using coupons; and hunting for bargains and then thinking of someone to whom she could gift the items. She was a lifelong Democrat and was especially concerned about poverty and injustice. She was energetic in collecting and distributing items to the homeless. She was very fond of animals, particularly her dogs and cats. She had an extraordinary love of children. Her main joy in life was bonding with people.

She loved the elders in her family, especially her grandmother Alice Lambert Renfroe and her aunt Alice Forson. She spent many years happily being an unofficial and unpaid caregiver to her friend and partner Tim Toney; to her aunt and uncle John and Camille Ford; to her mother Dorothy Falleri; to her cousin Janine Waters; and of course to her husband Gerard, who was ill for 10 years before his untimely death at the age of 49.

All her life she made many friends, some of whom were close to her until the very end of her life. So many people loved her because her greatest joy in life was to find someone whom she could help either materially or by giving moral support. People may say that no good deed goes unpunished, but the people who got to know Rita valued her not only for her goodness to them but for her kindness to others, and they did good deeds for her in return.

Through young adulthood and beyond, Rita had close ties with Iney R.; Denise B.; Doll; Joellen; Kathy F.; Christy C.; Debbie S.; John E.; and especially Bev P. And Leo P. and Janice H., and her cousins Lynn P. and Janine W. , all five of whom were forever friends. In her middle and later years, she also became close to Maria W.; Debbie T.; Danielle M.; and Dave H. and also the children Dawn M.; Charity W.; Elsa M.; sisters Tawnya, Devyn, Heidi and Kim H.; and her beloved Billie P.; Jennie W.; Savannah C. and Olivia.

Rita had many health issues and was only able to survive many months after heart surgery due to the care given by her local doctors and by the staff at IHSS, Hospice, St. Joseph’s‘ Hospital and Stanford Medical Center. and especially caregiver Nell. Maria W.; Janice H.; Dave H.; Bev P.; Danielle M.; and Lynn P. figuratively drew straws to see who would drive her to Stanford for her heart surgery and Lynn P. won. Were it not for Debbie T.’s staying 24/7 with Rita for weeks when Rita was discharged from the hospital, having to be in a nursing home was a real possibility, although other friends such as Maria W. offered to open their homes to her. Fortunately, she was happy and had a good quality of life at home until her demise due to the myriad types of loving support she received from Bev P.; Billie P.; Curtis N.; Janice H.; Dave H.; Danielle M.; Maria W.; Charity W.; Elsa D.; Debbie T.; Lynn and John P.; Cat; Christy K.; and Roxie P. , In addition to her family of friends, Rita is survived by many biological relatives, including her cousin Lynn Pettlon and her husband John; sister Rene Nesty and her husband Greg; and Rita’s son Mario Garcia.

Due to COVID-19, a gathering celebrating Rita’s life will be held at a later date.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Rita Garcia’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.