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12/08/1935 — 02/06/2020
From West Richland, WA | Born in Denver, CO
Rita Anne Zangar Mazur (a.k.a. RAZ) passed peacefully in the early morning of February 6, 2020, with a dear friend by her side.
Rita was born to Carl and Ruth Zangar on December 8, 1935, in Denver, CO. Her entire life was shaped by experiencing her formative years during the Great Depression and World War II. The tenacity she garnered during this time served her well when she had to leave behind her treasured 10,000 square foot garden, Colorado State University scholarship, and a lifetime of mile-high living to relocate with her family to Richland, WA, during her senior year of high school.
Rita’s next adventure was attending Washington State University. She worked all four years to fund her degree in English and could often be found during late-night study sessions keeping warm in the furnace room at the Alpha Phi house. She filled her free time with journalism, school dances, and protests that supported the right of women to wear pants on campus.
Rita met her future husband, Donald Mazur, at a Young Catholics group outing on the west side. This led to her leaving her teaching position in Bothell to return with Don to Richland, where they enjoyed 42 years of marriage until Don’s passing in 2002. These years brought five children, nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, a five-acre farm, a short stint in New Orleans, world travel, numerous voyages on the Columbia River, philanthropy, advocacy, and amazing times with family and friends. She also pursued successful careers as a teacher and real estate agent. Rita also served on the Richland City Council from 1995 until 2009, during which time she advocated for small businesses and promoted development of The Uptown. Throughout it all, Rita followed her passion for writing, producing hundreds of original poems.
The smell and the
Her ever-deepening faith brought Rita great joy, strength, contentment, grace, and elegance, particularly in her final years.
Rita was a tremendously loved and respected wife, mother, sister, friend, and role model, and her inspirational presence will be deeply missed.
Her family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the numerous loving and gifted caregivers who were a part of Rita’s later years, especially Shannon Bettencourt, Karen Ringwood, Lilly Tubac, and the staff at Life Care Center of Richland.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Ruth Zangar, sister Grace, and husband Don. Rita is survived by her children, Donna (Milo), Bruce (Kristi), Melinda (Ted), Steve (Kathy), and Monique (Darin); grandchildren Kylie, Thad, Catie, Courtney, Austin, Jordan, Alex, Samantha, and Emma; great- grandchildren Olivia, Talo, and Cecilia; siblings Sheila, Brenda, Cathy, Terri, Doug, and Rick; and many beloved nieces, nephews, and extended family.
The Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 10:00 am with the Mass of Christian Burial following at 11:00 am at Christ the King Catholic Church. The family would like to invite you to stay for the reception. The Graveside Service will take place at 2:00pm at Sunset Gardens in Richland, WA.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice. Two of Rita’s favorites are Christ the King parish and Catholic Family and Child Services.
I knew Rita through Cursillo. It was at that time I discovered she was on the City Council. She was a woman of faith with love for her family. She inspired me to see God in the ordinary things of everyday life. May God grant her eternal rest.
I met Rita for the first time at Richland Life Care while working as a massage therapist. The experience was probably the best example of “preach the gospel always, when necessary, use words”. Rita’s room was an ever changing, beautiful reflection of her faith, love of poetry, color, nature, music, art. Donna, Shannon, family and dear friends, surrounded her with pleasant reminders of her very full life, and she gave it all spirit with her particular presence. The time spent with Rita, was both an honor and a learning, and proof that a great deal can be shared, in what might seem, a quiet space. She did that. With much respect and affection, bless you and thank you, Rita.
What fun the Zanger girls were in high school. Rita and I worked on Sandstorm together and also had crazy times with the Thespians. Grace, the younger, stepped into her sister’s shoes when Rita went on to college. Thinking of them both makes me smile.
Barb Kramer Krema
My thoughts and prayers go out to Rita’s family. I am very sorry for your loss. I got to know Rita when I worked with her and Don as founders of Tri-Cities Prep. She will be sorely missed by the many people who’s lives she touched. I remember her as a loving and dedicated friend, teacher, church member, and city council member. She was a devoted and wonderful wife, mother and grandmother. God bless you Rita and peace be with you.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Rita’s family. I have very fond memories of Rita. She was a wonderful woman and certainly will be missed by many, as she touched numerous lives of people in the Tri-Cities community through her dedication as a friend, teacher, church member, citizen, and city council member. She was a wonderful wife, parent and grandparent, and a person of great faith. God bless you Rita. You are greatly loved and will be sorely missed.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Rita’s family. She was a wonderful woman and certainly will be missed by many, as she touched numerous lives of people in the Tri-Cities community and beyond. I have fond memories of her dedication as a church member, citizen and city council member. She was a wonderful wife, parent and grandparent, and a person of great faith. God bless you Rita. You are greatly loved and will be sorely missed.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Rita’s family. she was a wonderful woman and certainly will be missed by many, as she touched numerous lives of people in the Tri-cities community and beyond. I have fond memories of Rita as a genuine caring member of the community who was dedicated to it’s betterment as a citizen and city council member. She was a wonderful wife, parent and grandparent, and a person of great faith. God bless you Rita. You are greatly loved and will be sorely missed.
Eternal rest be grant unto her and let perpetual light shine on her.
Our sincere condolences to the family, Dave & Laura True
I am deeply saddened that another one of the great teachers from my formative years at Christ the King School in Richland has left us. Mrs. Mazur, as I knew her, was a phenomenal Language Arts teacher, and my love of poetry (especially haiku) is due to her. I also remember spending hours and hours working on her creative writing assignments – she knew how to make homework fun and rewarding.
One interesting bit of Christ the King teacher trivia – Rita’s late husband Don, as well as the husband of my 7th grade teacher Mrs. Ferguson, both headed WPPSS (now Energy Northwest) during turbulent times for that organization.
My prayers and condolences are with the family.
Loved and missed
Upon your forehead
I place a kiss
Safe travels to a better place,
Doug and Katy
Rita and I went on many adventures in these last 8 years we were friends; some challenging, some silly, but all of them with joy!! She always has been a bright spot in my life and she always will be. It was such an honor to take care of her and to be loved by such a dear soul. I miss her so much already, but all I need do is imagine her talking ears off in heaven and the joy that is Rita washes over me and giggles bubble forth through the tears. I can almost hear her beautiful laugh!!
My late mom worked with both Carl Zangar and Don Mazur, so I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know Rita, starting in the 1960s. She truly was one of a kind–intelligent, articulate and caring. If I tried to sum her up in a few words (a nearly impossible task!), I’d say that she never met a stranger, she had an amazing gift of making people feel special, and she was ever motivated to do right and help others. Godspeed, Rita. See you soon…
I knew Rita when she supported her kids in 4H. Riding lessons were given to her kids by me and my sister. We shared the excitement of fair time. I loved their little horse named a Little Bit. I admired Rita’s courage to change careers and to serve in local government. She sent an encouraging example for all of us to continually challenge ourselves. A great legacy.