Rita LaBelle

Obituary of Rita B. LaBelle

Rita (Boulais) LaBelle, 95, died after a brief illness at Westview Healthcare Center Monday January 8, 2024. A lifelong resident of Killingly, CT, she was born December 6, 1928 in Danielson, the daughter of Aldei and Emma (Audette) Boulais.


 After attending St. James Parochial School, Rita and her high school sweetheart, Richard (Spriget/Dick) LaBelle, were the Class Couple of their 1946 Killingly High School graduating class. They married May 6, 1950. He died unexpectedly at age 44 in 1972, leaving her to raise 6 children and manage their poultry business on her own, of which she did a fabulous job.


After high school, Rita worked as a telephone operator for many years. In 1960 she and her husband started LaBelle’s Turkey Farm which operated for 13 years selling fresh turkeys to local families, and later raising chickens as well for Arbor Acres and other poultry operations. She also worked at Westview starting in the kitchen and progressing to Supervisor of Laundry and Housekeeping. Acutely civic minded, Rita worked as an elections poll worker for years, later becoming a Registrar of Voters, a position she held for 22 years and remained very active in the election process up until her passing. She traveled extensively in the US and Europe with her mother, sisters and dear friends Dottie and Clarisse. Rita volunteered at Bingo for St. Anne’s Church and St. James, as well as helping with the yearly St. James Bazaar. She loved to sew, never backing down from a challenge, sewing her daughters’ bridesmaids’ dresses, christening outfits as well as repairing and patching many clothing items for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.


She is survived by her children the Rev. Paulette (Craig) Harwood of Canterbury, Michelle (William) Weiss of Dayville, David (Nikki Simpson) of Derby VT, Janice (Keith) Thurlow of Killingly, Richard II (Phyllis) of Willington, Diane (Matt Busey) Bordeleau of Lebanon as well as 15 grandchildren and 17(+) great grandchildren, her brother Maurice Roland (Nancy) Boulais of Rhode Island. Also several nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her brothers Robert Boulais and Marcel Boulais, sisters Madeleine Socquet, Cecile Bruels and Theresa McDonnell Turenne.


Calling Hours will be Saturday, January 20, 2024 from 9:00 to 10:00 AM at Gagnon and Costello Funeral Home, 33 Reynolds Street, Danielson, CT. Followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:30 AM at St. James Church, 12 Franklin Street Danielson, CT. Burial will be private. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to St. James School Scholarship Fund, 120 Water St., Danielson, CT 06239. Share a memory at Gagnonandcostellofh.com

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