Rita Helene Whittum

April 9, 1945 ~ October 21, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old

Rita Whittum Obituary

Rita Helen Whittum Heaven gained a beautiful angel and a big piece of our hearts, when Rita H. Whittum, 78, formally of Center Conway, N.H., passed away peacefully in her sleep at her Mountain View Community home, in Ossipee, N.H. Rita was the fourth of five children born to Arthur and Marie ( Desgroseilliers) Bellerose, on April 9, 1945, in Berlin, N.H Rita moved to Bartlett when she was six years old, and attended Kennett High School in Conway, which was a place in which many, many life-long friends were made. She married her husband, Wendell, on October 6, 1962, and together, raised their three children in Bartlett. For 53 years they rode life's journey side-by-side, until his death on December 11, 2015. Rita always enjoyed being outdoors, whether she was hiking up Cave Mountain in Bartlett, walking along river trails, or basking in the sun - no matter what the temperature was! Skiing became a new hobby of hers the day her father came home with a pair of downhill skis he had found. Since they didn’t have the money to ski at a mountain, she found the next best thing right in her own backyard! They had a massive granite boulder, the size of a small bunny hill, and she would climb up with her skis and zoom down, over and over again. Finally, after 40 years, she got her first ski lesson and enjoyed skiing until she was 68. Then there was skating! Everyday after school, she would skate. She loved practicing twirls, small jumps, backward foot glides, and crossovers…Oh, how she loved skating! She used to say that maybe in her next life she would master the triple axel! Drawing was something she enjoyed even before kindergarten. Painting soon followed. Seeing so many beautiful paintings and always admiring the techniques that were used, made her want to paint like the artists she thought so highly of. She saved 5 1 ⁄ 2 books of Green Stamps, and got a case with oil paints, brushes, 2-8x10 canvases and a paint pallet. Her very first painting on thick white paper was a beautiful night scene of the New York City skyline. She recalled how easily the paint floated onto the paper, and how calming it made her feel as she was painting, often saying that was when her love for painting began. Painting gave her so much joy throughout her life, and she shared paintings with countless friends, family - and a stranger or two along the way! She felt so proud when she displayed her work at the TD bank and had a month-long display at the Conway library. Even in her final days, when her hands were not as steady as they once were, Rita continued to pursue her passion, showing the incredible determination and love for art that defined her life. Rita had many fond memories of attending painting retreats with her other artist friends, especially at Monhegan Island, which held a very special place in her heart. She described how they would stay for a week, choosing cabins with no electricity, collecting wood for the fireplace, visiting by the warm light of the kerosene lamps, and hiking on the cliffs, hoping not to fall! They would take plein air art lessons overlooking the ocean and surrounding islands, and eat the delicious, warm, homemade donuts waiting for them at breakfast! Rita loved to involve herself in many areas of work that included being around people. She enjoyed people from all walks of life, and the people in her life were always a priority for her. Some of the jobs that held treasured memories for her included volunteering at a pre-school, being a 4-H leader, being a Cub Scout leader, starting the bakery at Grant’s Supermarket, working at Mallett’s Store, working at the Littleton Stamp and Coin Company, and traveling to Winston- Salem North Carolina to open a retail store. However, her most precious and cherished memories were those spent with her loving family. Rita is survived by her daughter, Pamela Dethlefs, and her husband David (Ctr. Conway),her son, Bill Whittum and his wife, Lauren (Conway,N.H.), her son, Jamie Whittum and his wife, Kate (Freedom, N.H.), her grandson, Corey Whittum (Bartlett, N.H.), her granddaughter, Sarah Whittum (Conway,N.H.), her great granddaughter, Avery Whittum, and her great grandson, Gavin Whittum, and their mom, Rachel Waterhouse(Littleton, N.H.). She also leaves behind her sister, Mary Jane Daugherty (Ma.), and brother Steven Bellerose ( Va.), and many wonderful nieces and nephews, and numerous friends whom she considered family. She loved all of them dearly … and they all loved her just as much! Rita was predeceased by her parents, her husband, Wendell, brother, Roland Bellerose (AL.) and nephew Remo Bellerose (AL.), and most recently, her beloved sister, Mary Ann Leavitt (Ossipee,N.H), whom she enjoyed playing Scrabble with for countless hours. Rita’s family is deeply grateful and thankful to the Mountain View Community Nursing home in Ossipee, N.H, and the Merriman House in North Conway, N.H. There, she was surrounded by wonderful, kind, professional people, who cared for her in ways she could not care for herself, and did so with compassion for her well-being. Finally, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Charlie and Colton at Ferber & White Funeral Home, for assisting us with grace and professionalism. A celebration of Rita’s life will be on Sunday November 12th, at Tin Mountain Conservation Center, 1245 Bald Hill Rd, ConwayN.H., from 11:00 – 3:00. We invite friends and family to bring with them a cherished memory or meaningful story to share. We encourage those who were fortunate enough to receive one of Rita’s paintings to bring it, so we can all enjoy the enduring legacy of her creativity and generosity

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