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Rita A. (Babcock) Bernhard
  • In lieu of flowers, the Bernhard family suggests memorial contributions be made to:)
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    501 St. Jude Place
    Memphis, TN 38105

Pause Home and Hearth by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
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Memories & Candles

“I am so sorry to hear about Rita. She was such a kind hearted, cheerful lady. For so many years she was the face of the YMCA, greeting people with a...Read More »
1 of 10 | Posted by: Kim whitworth - Melrose, MA

“For so many years, Rita was such an ever constant figure in the front lobby of the YMCA. I was one of the many young mothers struggling to get my...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Beth Schmitt - Melrose, MA

“So sorry to hear of Rita's passing. She was a wonderful lady who always had a smile and a laugh at the ready. I looked forward to working with her at...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: Jack Marshall - Davenport, FL

“Rita, Tom and family, sorry to read of your mother's passing. Thinking of you all. ”
4 of 10 | Posted by: Joanne Giggie Johansson - SC

“So sorry to hear the news. Rita was such a wonderful person who I enjoyed working with. ”
5 of 10 | Posted by: Donna Parsons - Wakefield, MA

“Rita was a wonderful woman who sat at the front desk at the Melrose YMCA and greeted people as they entered. She was a kind and loving woman who...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Paula Emelock - Melrose, MA

“Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. She was a great woman and I'm sure she will be greatly missed. ”
7 of 10 | Posted by: Nancy Madden - Coworker

“Jeannine and family I'm saddened to hear of your grandmother Rita's passing. May she rest In vhNIXpeace for someday, hopefully not soon, you shall...Read More »
8 of 10 | Posted by: John Cecca - Wrentham, MA

“In loving memory of a wonderful person. All our love to you Jim & Ruth and the entire Bernhard family. Martin & Amy Grohman ”
9 of 10 | Posted by: Martin Grohman - Biddeford, ME

“The Gately Family and Staff wish to express our sincere sympathy to you. It is our hope that we may be able to make a difficult time more bearable....Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: John W. Gately, John H. Gately & Fred Sprague - MA


Rita (Babcock) Bernhard, 87, of Melrose, passed away at her home surrounded by her family on February 6, 2020. Rita was the beloved wife of the late Thomas Bernhard. Loving mother of Lisa Bernhard of Melrose, Rita Croteau & her husband Richard of South Yarmouth, Thomas Bernhard & his wife Robin of Melrose, Kevin Bernhard of Melrose, James Bernhard & his wife Ruth of Plainville, and Debra Norris & her husband Dana of Melrose. Cherished grandmother of Michael, Ashleigh, Nikkilee (Alex), Jeannine (Brandon), Noelle (Anthony), Gus, Jason, Taylor, Kelton, Alexander, & Sydney. Proud great grandmother of Bryce, Ava, Mya, Tony, and the late Cali Caruso. Devoted sister of Barbara Drago & Domenic, Helen Hurd & Al Erickson, Loretta Prestia & Leonard, and the late John Babcock & Catherine and James Babcock & Urania. Caring sister-in-law of Ann and Roger Richard. Also survived by many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Rita was raised in Everett, MA, and graduated in 1950 from Everett High School. She went on to receive her bachelor's degree in teaching from Salem Teachers College in 1954. After graduation she taught elementary school in Athol, MA, and Everett, MA. Once Rita and Tom moved to Melrose to raise their family, Rita became a substitute teacher, where she was known for always following the lesson plan and expecting her students' full attention and participation. She later worked at the Melrose YMCA for many years, where she was known for her warm greetings and unflappable demeanor. Rita was happiest when her living room was filled with her family chatting, laughing, teasing, reminiscing, and debating—always with the respect for one another that she quietly and lovingly insisted upon.

Visitation will be held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose, on Monday, February 10, 2020, from 4:00-8:00 PM. Funeral procession from Gately Funeral Home on Tuesday morning February 11 at 9:00 AM, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Incarnation Church, 425 Upham St., Melrose, at 10:00 AM. Interment at Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose. Relatives & friends are respectfully invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Rita's name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.