Aug, 17, 1925-Feb. 4, 2018

Mary Rita Thomas passed away Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 at the age of 92.

Rita was born in Anaconda on Aug. 17, 1925 to Patrick and Mary (McLaughlin) Dougherty. She attended St. Peter’s School and Anaconda High, graduating in 1943. She attended Strayer College in Washington, D.C. After returning to Anaconda, she worked for Dr. Dunlap (an ear, nose and throat doctor) — initially as his office assistant and then his “right-hand” office manager.

In May of 1953, she married George Thomas at St. Mary’s Church in Helena. Together they shared 60 years of marriage before his passing in 2013. He told her every day that she was his best blessing. From this union came three sons and a daughter — Joe, Paul, Dan and Maryann. Rita was a loving mother devoted to her children. Her kind and selfless nature is reflected in the way she raised her children and the values she taught them. Her family’s needs always came first.

In 1958, Rita and George took over the family clothing business. She had a great business mind and was an integral part of the success of their operation. They operated Thomas’ Family Apparel for 34 years until their son Paul took over the business. She continued to help Paul into her 90’s. Never afraid of hard work, she was the very definition of a strong independent woman, working hard to make the family business a success but always with time and love for her children and family. She was beloved by those in the Butte community who were lucky enough to know her. She always had a kind word for others and appreciated the small things that were done for her.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents, Patrick and Mary; her husband, George; her beloved, son Dan; brother, Dr. James Dougherty; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Mercedes and Hobo McCarthy, and Florence and Stranger Tabish; and sisters-in-law, Rita and Sr. Antoinette Thomas.

She is survived by her sons, daughter and their spouses: Dr. Joe and Sherry Thomas, Paul Thomas and Maryann and Jerry Piazzola. She fiercely loved her grandchildren and was so proud of each of them. She took great joy in seeing them grow into adults: Greg, Patrick, Sarah, Dan, Sean and Courtney Thomas, and Angela and Teresa Piazzola. She is also survived by her sister and best friend, Genevieve Ellsworth; her very special nieces, Theresa and Jenna Atz and Rita Ellsworth, all of Tucson, Arizona; as well as her brother-in-law and sister-in-law Eli and Dorothy Thomas. Special thanks to her caretaker, Kasey Yadao and our lifelong friend, Laura Griner Brown who spent many hours comforting Rita in her final days.

Memorials may be made to Butte Central Education, 9 S. Idaho St, Butte, Montana 59701, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Services will be Thursday Feb. 8, at St. Ann’s Church, with visitation from 10 to 11, and Liturgy of the Resurrection beginning at 11.