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Rheta Ann Colpitts
October 7, 1947 ~ July 16, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old
With profound sadness we mark the passing July 16 of "Manchester Legend" Rheta Ann Colpitts, after a fortnight’s illness, with her family at her side. For 75 years Rheta inspired, instructed, and loved so many so much. Born October 7, 1947 to Raymond and Mary (McMillin) Colpitts, she was differently abled in multiple ways, which created challenges and opportunities for her, her family and community. Ray and Mary, with other pioneering families, founded the organization that spawned MARC and led to Manchester’s creation of Special Education services for its "boomers." From the humble Bunce Center through her 1966 graduation from Manchester High School, Rheta excelled. An avid reader, she was a huge fan of baseball, opera, popular music, UConn basketball, her church, and above all, her friends and family. Her conversations often began with and always ended with, “I love you.”
Rheta loved travel: regular weekend family camping trips, annual summer trips to visit the McMillin family in Tennessee, to Florida for her favorite Red Sox spring training, shopping weekends to Kittery with Mom, and a trip to Alaska are highlights. She joyfully competed in the Special Olympics, attended Camp Kennedy, swam at IOH and bowled regularly for many years. For 60 years, she was an important daily participant in employment, social and recreational activities through MARC, Inc. of Manchester, which was her home away from home. She relished her work, and loved the independence and income it provided, which allowed her to indulge her well-known fashion sense as well as creative, generous gifting to friends and family.
She was predeceased by her parents, Ray and Mary Colpitts, her aunt Rheta Ellen Colpitts and her "Nana" Bessie Colpitts (who were always there in the extended family home and helped her grow up,) grandparents Benton and Bonnie McMillin, great aunt Daisy Maynard, aunts and uncles Ed and Gladys Colpitts, Donald and Jean Colpitts, “Dusty” and Katherine Hale, John and Kathy McMillin, Daisy and Hubert Elder and their daughter, cousin Wendy Ott.
Surviving her are her brothers Charlie and wife Kate of Atlanta, David and wife Diana of Hartford, nephews Jason Frost and wife Melinda of Geneva, Switzerland, Ben Colpitts and wife Marni of MD, niece Julia Landt and husband Peter of NJ, grandnieces Aubree Frost, Cassandra Frost and Drew Colpitts, grandnephews Jax and Brooks Colpitts and Carter and Rhys Landt. She is also survived by many cousins, her beloved housemates and caregivers at her home (MARCH, Inc.’s “East Middle,”) her church family at Manchester Church of Christ and her dear friends at MARC, Inc.
Her family extends its deep gratitude to all who loved and supported Rheta during her amazing life, and to the caring staff at Hartford Hospital and Hartford Healthcare Hospice who did so much to ease her passing. A memorial event will be held later this year. Holmes-Watkins Funeral Home 400 Main St, Manchester CT is handling arrangements.
Donations in her memory may be made to MARC, Inc. of Manchester, 151 Sheldon Rd., Manchester, CT 06043 or to a charity of choice.