Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Rita Heller

September 28, 1941 - November 13, 2019
Kalamazoo, MI


Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
11:00 AM EST
St. Thomas More Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 381-8917

Following the mass, food and fellowship will be shared in the church hall. Burial will take place at 2:30 PM in Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Augusta.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Charlie the Merchant
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Wedel's Nursery Florist & Garden Center
5020 Texas Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-1195
Driving Directions

Life Story / Obituary


Age 78, died November 13, 2019 in Kalamazoo. Rita was born September 28, 1941 in Ashburton, New Zealand, the daughter of F.X. and Mary (Robinson) McDonnell. She was preceded in death by her parents, 8 siblings and grandson, Charlie Wolf. Members of her family include husband of 59 years, Charles “Charlie” Heller; 5 children: Marian Heller, Katrine “Trini” (Rick) Nichols, Theresa Heller, Paul Heller and Vince (Simone) Heller; 7 grandchildren: Chris Nichols, Sarah (Paul) Porter, Katelyn Nichols, Courtney Segota, Bryan Heller, Julia Heller and Patrick Heller; 2 great-grandchildren: Gwendolyn and Graham Porter, many nieces and nephews and beloved cat, “Stewie”.

Rita was involved for many years with the Cursillo movement, serving as weekend leader two times. Rita was an avid and accomplished handicraft artist, winning awards for her art in a wide variety of crafts, from gourd crafts, cake decorating, quillow making, crocheting angels and prayer shawls, stamp and card making, calligraphy, ceramics, sewing wedding dresses, making chocolates, cross-stitch and zentangle. She loved gardening and was a founding member of the Michigan Gourd Society and the Michigan Perennials plant swap group. Rita was also a music lover and talented musician with perfect pitch, playing both piano and violin. Rita had a terrific sense of humor and really loved a good pun!

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated next Tuesday (Nov. 26th) 11 AM at St. Thomas More Parish (421 Monroe St.) with visitation beginning at 10 AM. A luncheon will follow the mass in the church hall. Burial at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Rita’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook Memorial contributions may be made to www.charliethemerchant.org.