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Rita Marlene Brunelle

Obituary for Rita Marlene Brunelle

September 2, 1931 - May 26, 2018
Bedford, New Hampshire | Age 86


Rita Marlene Brunelle (Cote), 86, of Bedford, died May 26, 2018 after a period of declining health.

Rita was born in Manchester on September 2, 1931 to William and Nelsie (Lemay) Cote.

Rita's happiest childhood memories were of "the camp" in Auburn where her family would gather during the summer months, creating a foundation that supported the importance of family for her entire life.

Rita was married to her husband Joseph Brunelle of almost 66 years. Together they had eight children. She was a wonderful wife, mother and memere, generously giving of unconditional love.

Rita especially enjoyed holidays, particularly Christmas, when with help from her daughters, she would pull together an annual gathering that included a gift swap, potluck dinner, games and lots of family time.

Only slowing down in the last year, Rita had an abundance of energy. As a young mother, she ran a family daycare while raising her own children until her youngest child started school at which time Rita returned to the workforce. Her work life included Woolworths, Dunkin Donuts, JM Fields, E & R Cleaners for 18 years, and in her later years, crossing guard, where she enjoyed greeting the children each day.

After retirement, Rita loved travelling throughout the United States with her husband, Joseph. They enjoyed numerous trips to Cape Cod, Florida and Arizona. One of her favorite places was Branson, Missouri, which she had visited during Christmas season. She described it as the "most beautiful place ever!" Another one of her favorite places was Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, where a one-night stop on the drive back to NH turned into three weeks because she absolutely loved it there.

Rita was a generous soul, volunteering throughout her life. Her friendly personality was the perfect fit to greet visitors at City Hall in Manchester, which she did for more than 10 years. She was well suited as an usher at the Palace Theatre, as she demonstrated for almost 20 years. Rita was also a member of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Bedford, where she joined friends in prayer and conversation as they crocheted lap blankets and shawls for people under hospice care. Rita also crocheted more than 300 caps for newborn babies. It warmed her heart to know that she could pass on her love in this way.

Rita had an active social life, participating regularly at events at the Senior Center in Manchester. She also valued her weekly breakfast gatherings with her friends at Panera Bread and joining in bingo and other activities at Carlton Crossing.

As much as one can convey a person's life on a single page, this was the heart and soul of Rita Marlene Brunelle. She was loved and will be missed by many.

Rita was predeceased by her parents; her second mother, Eva (Jacques) Cote; her daughter, Diane Poulette; her grandson, Michael Brunelle; her great grandson Henry Petersen; four brothers, Donald H. Cote, William A. Cote, Roger Cote and Arnold E. Cote; and two sisters, Priscilla Watson and Patricia Cote.

The family includes her husband, Joseph Brunelle of Bedford; seven children, Linda Brunelle and her husband Lenny Garvey of Manchester; Karen Gookin and her husband Shawn of Amherst; Michele Petersen and her husband David of New Boston; Janine Musker and her husband Oscar of Lynn, MA; Annette Hanke and her husband Troy of Ladysmith, WI; Robert Brunelle and his wife Joanne of Sun Lakes, AZ; Jennifer Richards and her partner Danny Charnas of Stuart, FL; 17 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; her brother Gerald N. Cote of Hopkinton, RI; her sister Phyllis Fortier and her husband Normand of Manchester; her son-in-law Lucien Poulette and his wife Stephanie of Auburn; her sister-in-law Pauline Cote of Manchester; cousins, nieces and nephews; her dog Kita and her grand-dogs.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Friday, June 1, 2018 at St. Elizabeth Seton Church, 190 Meetinghouse Rd, Bedford. Committal Prayers followed in the mausoleum at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, 474 Goffstown Rd., Manchester. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Community Hospice House in Merrimack: or to: DreamCatchers New Hampshire at or an organization of your choosing.

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Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory

1799 Elm St
Manchester, NH 03104
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