Rita Holmes

On Feb. 2, Toronto-area pro-lifer Rita Holmes, passed away in her 89th year. Rita had a perpetual dedication to her family – her husband Ray and sons Jim, David, and Bill, and daughters Lorie (Futch), Cathy (Roth), Honey (Ellerby), and Genevieve (Carson). She also had 26 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Married for 67 years to Ray, her love, care and support for her husband was never ending. She was adored and respected by many, who testify to the kind person she was and the way she touched their lives. A humble woman, Rita genuinely cared for all of her friends, and helped those in need in whatever way she could.

Rita helped causes and charities that she felt strongly about. Most notably, Rita was a dedicated pro-life supporter. She was also a personal friend to Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, and his wife Ginny and their family for many years. “She was a faith-filled human being,” Jim told The Interim, who recalls attending her 80th birthday and 60th wedding anniversary. “To meet her was to love her forever,” said Ginny who warmly shared of Rita’s endearing personality. Rita was “each and every inch a lady,” and “always ready to greet you with a smile and a hello.”

Rita was also a generous benefactor of Campaign Life Coalition.

She “understood the agony of the pro-life movement,” recalled her daughter Genevieve, and stood up for the rights of the unborn. Rita picketed outside Peel Memorial Hospital for years, a Brampton hospital that commits abortions. “She had a deep admiration for her friends in the pro-life battle,” said Genevieve. Together with her husband Ray, the couple has passed on their pro-life convictions to their entire family, friends and peers.

“Their home is a resource of pro-life reading materials,” says Grace Petrasek who highlighted the pro-life work of Ray Holmes in Silhouettes Against the Snow. Rita’s devotion to her husband, and the pro-life movement was particularly shown through her support to Ray while he was incarcerated following an Operation Rescue at Morgentaler’s abortion mill in 1989. Although a stressful and lonely time for Rita, she stood behind her husband 100 per cent.

Friends and family recall that she was a strong woman, and one that would stand by her family, friends, and for justice and truth. “Above all else, she was the living embodiment of her faith,” Melissa Wooder, Rita’s granddaughter, so beautifully summarized in her eulogy at Rita’s funeral mass.