Bloomington - Rita Ann Gagnier Buffinton, 100, of Bloomington, passed away at 6:20 p.m. on Sunday, September 24, 2023 at Martin Health Center in Bloomington.
A private family funeral will be held on Friday, September 29, 2023 at Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home in Bloomington with Father Jeff Stirniman officiating. Interment will follow at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington.
Rita was born on May 27, 1923, in North Adams, Massachusetts to Edward M. and Marie (LeBeau) Gagnier. She married Philip G. Buffinton on October 22, 1945, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He preceded her in death on August 25, 2016. Also preceding her in death were her parents and two brothers, Edward and Larry.
Rita is survived by her daughters, Denise (Neal) Adamson of Montgomery, Texas; Nancy (Ron) Buffinton-Kelm of Sisters, Oregon; and Joan (Bill) Sellberg of Le Roy; grandson, Nealson (Rachelle) Adamson of Spring, Texas; and great-grandchildren, Madeline and Preston Adamson of Spring, Texas.
In 1945, Rita graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in music. Her lifelong love of singing and music led her to leave a perpetual scholarship endowment with Skidmore College for music with a focus on voice performance. Rita showcased her singing talent in many ways, including performing as a soloist with the Worcester (MA) Philharmonic Orchestra, the Worchester (MA) County Light Opera, and the Chautauqua Opera Company in New York. She also participated in recitals held at the Middlebury (VT) College and at the Nurses Graduate School of Medicine in New York City. Rita made several television appearances in Schenectady, NY (WRGB TV) and even performed with Edward Rice and his String Ensemble.
Rita was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Bloomington, the Junior League, a past President of the Amateur Musical Club, and a board member of the Bloomington-Normal Art Association. She also was a member of the Fleetwood Garden Club, HP Chapter of PEO, and a former member of the Bloomington Country Club.
Rita enjoyed golf, singing, watching sports, and the news. Once while golfing, in October of 1970, she got a hole-in-one at the Danville Country Club in Danville, Illinois. She also enjoyed working on puzzles of all types and tending to her flower garden.
The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Martin Health Center and Carle Health Hospice Care for their dedication.
Rita was deeply loved and will be greatly missed. She is now in Heaven with Phil.