April 13, 1931 – August 27, 2023
RITA DODS, known as “Mom” or “Grammy” to her treasured loved ones and extended family, passed away peacefully on August 27, 2023, with loving family and friends at her side, at the age of 92, after a brief battle with leukemia. She braved it all with her infectious smile to the end.
Rita was born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, the youngest of eight children born to Léa and Joseph Hudon. She always said that she was the caboose and “they saved the best for last”. The family moved to Victoria in 1943 where her Dad accepted work as a blacksmith. Rita, her sister Térèse, Mum, Dad, Grandfather and Uncle all resided together, supported with additional income from their family-run boarding house.
Rita loved attending school at Esquimalt Secondary. Her dream was to be a nurse but, as her mother became ill and required assistance with the boarding house tasks, she was forced to drop out of school in Grade 10, sadly never to return. After leaving school, Rita took on a myriad of jobs; a “presser” at the Standard Laundry, a customer service clerk at the Metropolitan Store, an usherette at the Odeon Theatre, and ofﬁ ce assistant at Haney Cartage.
Near the end of 1950, Rita met Kenneth Walter Dods, a young man from Sooke, answering an ad for new boarders. Strong, handsome and athletic, he captured her attention and they became a couple, marrying on July 5, 1952. In July 1955, Rita and Ken moved to Salt Spring Island, and welcomed their ﬁ rst daughter, Lorraine, on October 23rd. Loretta was born 8 years less one day later, on October 22, 1963.
Food was at the forefront of so much of Rita’s life. Her involvement in the business of food provision was lengthy – as an employee in restaurants (The Log Cabin, Vesuvius Kitchen), and in her own endeavours as a “woman in business” before it became fashionable; door-to-door sales of Avon, Regal Greeting Cards & Gifts, Stockings; then pursuing her own food businesses (“The Bun House”, Loriken Katering, The Reef Fish & Chip Shop, Salt Spring Island Golf and Country Club, and Rita’s Inn).
Rita was known for her baking – particularly her pies- which were a staple in all her business and volunteer endeavours, highlighted by the “Bun House” from 1966-1970. Baking continued into her retirement years, delivering goodies to various individuals and organizations, and her “kids’ workplaces” – it was her way of giving them a nod of approval and appreciation for the work being done by all, every day.
Rita loved her community and the people in it. People were “her thing”. She was a social individual and making people feel welcome, no matter the challenges, was a strength. Rita always had time to listen to, and engage with, people so they felt heard and appreciated, even while absorbing the pain and loss that life inﬂ icted upon her and her family.
Nothing brought Rita more joy than delivering a fresh out-of-the-oven banana cake to the Country Grocer staff or a family in need, made with donations of “tired” bananas that would otherwise be tossed away. She knew how to “stretch a dollar” better than anyone and shared that skill with many along the way, always ﬁ nding those teachable moments in whatever she did to share with others – and she taught many.
Rita volunteered in so many organizations and causes close to her heart: Our Lady of Grace Church and Catholic Women’s League, the Lady Minto Hospital Auxiliary, and the ALS Society of BC, to name a few. Rita was proud to be honoured by the Province of BC in recognition of her “Outstanding Volunteerism in her Community” and by the ALS Society of British Columbia for 10 years of service coordinating the annual fundraising SSI Cornﬂ ower Tag Days.
Rita is survived by her daughter Loretta, son-in-law Mark, the apples of her eye – grandchildren Anna and William, and many beloved nieces and nephews who called “Aunty Rita” their favourite.
She is predeceased by her daughter Lorraine Evelyn (Dods) Moth (2007), husband Kenneth Walter Dods (1999), son-in-law Leslie Alfred (Spike) Moth (2022); siblings Marie Mourre (Charlie), Irene Paquette (Joe), Armand Hudon (Madeleine/Olive), Wilfred Maurice Hudon (one year), Marguerite Blais (Paul), Lorraine Olmsted (Charlie) and Térèse Toms (George).
Rita’s chosen extended family was very important to her, and we know they will honour her by continuing to pass along her humour, love of music, dancing, cooking and baking, and kindness to others. Always waiting with open arms or a listening ear, she freely offered comfort to anyone that needed a warm hug or welcoming smile to brighten their day or offer words of encouragement.
Rita’s family would like to extend special thanks for the loving care given to Rita by her dedicated companions, Paula, Linda, Crystal, Barb, Josie and Marina. You recognized her strength and determination to never give up. We are forever grateful for the friendship and assistance provided by all of you to help her enjoy her best life as she faced life’s challenges and, in her words, “enjoy every day”.
Heartfelt appreciation to dear friends Gail and Patrick, always ready with invaluable assistance.
Thanks to all Greenwoods staff who provided friendly support and smiles in a digniﬁ ed and respectful environment she could call home, where she was lovingly referred to as “Queen Rita”; ensuring earrings, lipstick and colourful attire were in place. (She had the Royal Wave down pat.)
There will be a church service at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, as well as a celebration of life event in the Spring (April, 2024). Rita was a beloved member of our community who touched so many lives in one way or another – and we want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to say farewell. If you wish, please make a donation in Rita’s honour to an organization of your choice or contact Loretta if you would like names of the organizations that were closest to Rita’s heart.
Please watch for a notice in the Spring, announcing the details of Rita’s Mass and Celebration of Life. We hope you will join us. We would be grateful for your written stories, memories, and photos you may wish to share as we put together memory books for this event. Please contact Loretta or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.