Mary Rita Echenique passed away peacefully with family at her side on February 9, 2013 at the age of 83 after a short period of failing health. She was born in Massachusetts to Raymond and Emily Houde.
After graduating in Boston with a degree in medical records, she was asked to work at the new Mee Memorial Hospital in King City. She worked there for 22 years before retiring, later becoming a Medical Records Consultant for skilled nursing facilities. She met Luis Echenique in King City and married in 1954. Luis and Rita lived at his ranch for 12 years and then moved into King City and later, Monterey. Upon his retirement in 1960 they traveled extensively, spending most anniversaries in Hawaii plus seeing the world by cruise ship or plane. Luis passed away in February 2006 after 52 years of marriage.
Another cherished activity was membership in the Diocesan Choir. Rita accompanied the choir on two trips to sing for the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Commitment to community service was a priority. Rita was a 25-year auxiliary volunteer with Community Hospital with 14,770 hours of service. She served as Auxiliary President from 2009 through 2010. The first 12 years of volunteering meant traveling to and from King City several times a month. Mindful of the benefits of their life, Rita continued to contribute to the community including gifts to the Community Hospital Foundation for nursing education. There is a dedication plaque to Luis and Rita Echenique in the Rose Garden at the hospital. She donated to the San Carlos Catholic Church reconstruction as well as support for many individuals in her family and community, particularly for education and the arts which were dear to her heart.
Rita loved living on the Peninsula and to quote her, “Just another day in paradise.”
She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her brother, Paul Houde, sister-in-law Charlotte, their four children and seven grandnieces and -nephews. Also surviving are the Echenique family’s two nieces, two nephews and several grandnieces and -nephews.
A memorial Mass is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. at San Carlos Cathedral, 500 Church St. in Monterey.
Those wishing to make a donation, may do so to any one of the charities that were so near and dear to Rita or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Eddington Funeral Services, 333 East San Antonio Dr., King City, CA, 831-385-5400, www.efscares.com.