Rita Ann Eichhorn died peacefully at home with family members gathered at her side on March 6, 2019, in Watsonville at the age of 90.
She was born January 21, 1929 in Day Valley, Aptos to Joseph and Angela Firebaugh and raised in Watsonville where she attended Moreland Notre Dame for 12 years. Rita received a scholarship and graduated in 1950 with a degree from St. Joseph’s College of Nursing in San Francisco. She worked at San Francisco General Hospital, O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, and Watsonville Community Hospital for a total of 47 years of nursing. Throughout those years she has treasured many friends and co-workers.
Rita met her husband Bob in San Jose and married in 1952 at Carmel Mission. They moved back to Watsonville in 1961 to Rita’s homestead and together raised 8 children. She was an avid sports enthusiast, especially baseball and her Warriors basketball. Rita enjoyed spending time with all the family, especially her grandchildren. She loved to travel, read, and was an active and devoted member of the community and Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church. She was also a loyal member of California Nurses’ Association and enjoyed the monthly luncheons with fellow doctors and nurses.
Rita is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Angela Firebaugh; her husband, Bob; eldest son, Steven; brothers, John, Joseph, Don, Dick and Jim; and dearest friend, Rosemarie Bailey. She is survived by her sister, Mary Alice Sorensen, and brother, Stephen Firebaugh; children, Ron, Joanne, Suzanne, Karen (Peter), Mark (Mariann), David (Suzanne), and Jennifer; 13 grandchildren; 1 great-granddaughter, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be held on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Watsonville beginning at 10:00 a.m. with a viewing and rosary followed by Mass at 11:00 a.m. A reception will immediately follow at Kennedy Center. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Rita’s life. A private interment will take place at a later date.
The family wishes to express their thanks to Hospice of Santa Cruz, especially social worker Catherine Sloan, nurse Mia Young and aid Madeline. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of Rita’s favorite charities: Missionaries of Charity Mother Teresa at 312 29th St., San Francisco, CA 94131 or Hospice of Santa Cruz at www.hospicesantacruz.org/ or 940 Disc Dr., Scotts Valley, CA 95066.