Rita D. Fendick

1937 - 2021


In the morning hours of April 7, 2021, at UHS Wilson Memorial Medical Center, the angels came and escorted Rita Dawn (Fancher) Fendick 83 to heaven to be with the Almighty Father and loved ones. Her husband and son Matthew were by her side. From home Rita’s children, grandchildren, other family members, and friends prayed for her and kept her close to their heart. Rita is predeceased in death by her parents Richard A. and Christine M. (Csernansky) Fancher and siblings Howard, Edward, Mrs. Evaline Kozak, Mrs. Gladys Roman, Richard, and Mrs. Shirley Potter. Being the youngest of seven, she often referred to herself before passing as “The Last of the Mohicans.” In her own words, she wrote “death is only a temporary separation, and we’ll be back together again one day.” Rita is survived by Alfred Fendick her loving husband and best friend of 66 years. Their five children: Dawn (Brian) Phoenix, Mark (Robin) Fendick, Richard Fendick, Alfred (Susan McCoy Johnston, fiancé) Fendick Jr. - FL, and Matthew (Jodi) Fendick. Ten grandchildren: Timothy (Sandy Plute, fiancé) Phoenix - CA, Richard (Jennifer) Phoenix - PA, Randy Fendick – FL, Adam (Katie) Phoenix, Tiffany (Nate Williams) Fendick - FL, Cayla (Joseph) Gonzalez, Joshua Fendick, Sydney Fendick, Jake Fendick, and Colby Fendick. Seven great-grandchildren: Nina and Thaddeus Phoenix - PA, Gabriel and Julian Gonzalez, Kayden Williams - FL, James and Jonathan Phoenix, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends she held close to her heart. Rita was born and raised in Johnson City, NY. From a young age, Rita loved baseball. Especially the Yankees. She often told stories of how she would peek through the fence to watch the Binghamton Triplets. In later years she was ecstatic to meet Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford at the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Rita was and remained an avid reader and passed her passion and the importance of reading on to her children and grandchildren. During Rita’s high school years, she wrote for the school newspaper, was an officer for student-council, played softball and basketball, shot archery, ran track, and was a cheerleader. She also danced and taught ballet. Rita’s primary dream in life was to convert to Catholicism, marry, and have children. Her family was Methodist, but she often attended St. James Church with her uncle, James Wahl. After graduating from high school, Rita converted to Catholicism, married Alfred Fendick in 1955, and their wedding ceremony was held at St. James Church. Her dream became reality. Rita loved unconditionally her husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, relatives, nieces, nephews, friends, and children of friends. She was always extremely proud of all her children, grandchildren, and their accomplishments. Rita believed you could not make or force a person to do anything. It was up to the person to choose and live their path. Anyone who knew Rita most likely has an afghan she made them. A craft she taught her granddaughters and others. She loved to bake and shared her husband’s Slovakian and her Hungarian/English heritage recipes with her children and grandchildren. The most challenging of recipes being the Slovakian cookie zazvornikis. One day we can only hope to master it! For every holiday or event, family and friends could count on a plate of her delicious baked goodies. She even catered wedding receptions for a few of her children. Rita believed charity began in the home. Everyone was welcomed. There was always room for more at the table, a loving hug, a toast (which for her was a shot of Jim Beam), and if it was your birthday, she sang you “A Birthday Greeting.” She was a unique woman. It was not uncommon to see her cleaning a deer heart or liver, rabbit, pheasant, or fish that her husband or sons had dropped in her kitchen sink or thrown in the backdoor before leaving for work or school. For many years Rita was an active member of St. Christopher’s Church teaching religious education, organizing church picnics, and meals for bereavement. Many may know Rita from Howard Johnsons Restaurant where she worked while her children were growing up. After her children were grown, Rita began working at Hilltop Nursing Home on the dementia unit. She was passionate about her job and the people she assisted. She would have loved to become an RN. Family and life kept her busy, so she happily settled for becoming a certified CNA. After retiring she and her husband moved to Punta Gorda, FL. Their second home for 30 plus years, which she loved. She described it as paradise. Recently due to declining health, Rita and Alfred moved back to their roots to spend more time with family. Our mother’s, grandmother’s, and great-grandmother’s encompassing flame of love and faith will burn in our hearts forever. All will remember special times spent at Bowman Lake, Greenwood Park, Hay Bay, Tupper Lake, the Adirondacks, and Punta Gorda. Each grandchild will keep their “gram” close to their heart and remember her as nostalgic, a bookworm, scrappy, wise, insightful, patient, friend, role model, cordial, selfless, strong, and inspirational. A memorial mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., family can receive friends at 9:00 a.m., until time of service, at St. James Church, 147 Main St., Johnson City, NY on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Our family extends a heartfelt thank you to all of Rita’s health care providers for their compassionate care and support during her journey with dementia and her short illness. Service maybe viewed at https:/

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J. F. Rice Funeral Home, Inc.

150 Main Street, Johnson City, NY
(607) 797-5514

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