July 1, 2023, Rita Charlebois Booska, 99, of New Haven, Vermont, completed her long and incredible life on earth, and surrounded by family went home to her eternal rest. Born in 1924 to a family of eleven siblings, Rita lived a life rooted in family, faith, hard work and music. Her greatest joy was her family and making memories with them, especially if multiple generations were gathered together.
Rita’s parents came to Vermont from Ontario, Canada in 1919 and beginning in 1920 and ending in 1944, added eleven children into the family. Growing up on a farm, Rita was raised speaking both French and English. Her earliest memories revolved around farm chores, horse and buggy rides to the store in Bridport and family and friends gathering at her home to play and sing. Instruments included the piano, fiddle and a Hawaiian guitar. At one of these gatherings, she met her future husband, Lawrence Booska and the pair were married on October 12, 1942 at St. Bernadette’s Church in Bridport.
The family soon included daughter Yvette and in 1946 added son Eugene. Following Lawrence’s service in the US Army, the family moved to New Haven in 1947 where they set about building a home, several businesses, and helping out neighbors. Rita and Lawrence’s story includes running Lawrence’s L.R. Booska Corporation which consisted of a gravel pit and landfill, working together during his twenty-four years as the New Haven Road Commissioner, Rita’s owning and operating Booska’s Beauty Shoppe out of their home for fifty years and opening the A&W in Middlebury in the fall of 1957. When Lawrence passed away in 1990, Rita chased yet another dream to achieve a college education. Graduating from CCV at the age of sixty-six with an Associate’s Degree, Rita announced to her family she wasn’t done yet. In June 2002, at the age of 78, she graduated from Vermont Technical College with her nursing degree. Rita spent her late 80’s and into her 90’s volunteering to care for a family member and working with several church committees at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. She traveled to Europe with her church and helped chaperone a VUHS high school history trip to Washington, D.C. in her 90’s, fulfilling another goal of seeing the inside of the White House and US Supreme Court. Living by the belief that you must do the things you think you can’t do, Rita’s presence lives on in generations of family and friends.
Rita was predeceased by her husband of 48 years Lawrence Booska, her grandson Marc LaPete, son in law Pete LaPete, her parents, siblings Yvette, Gerard, Simone, Real, Richard, Anita, Rena and many dear friends. She is survived by daughter Yvette LaPete (Pete), son Eugene Booska (Kris) and his family, grandson Chris LaPete (Lisa) and family, granddaughter Karry Booska (TG) and family, granddaughter Kelly Bishop (Peter) and her family, brother Eugene Charlebois (Judy) and their family, sister Jeanne Bernek (John) in Florida and brother Bernard Charlebois in Oregon.
A celebration of Rita’s life will be held on Friday, July 7th at the following locations and times. Calling hours will be at 10:00 am at Brown McClay Funeral Home in Vergennes and the service will be at St. Peter’s Church in Vergennes at 11:00 am. Interment at St. Peter’s Cemetery will be immediately following the service and the family invites you to a gathering at Vergennes Eagles Club following internment, beginning approximately around 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Vermont & New Hampshire, 88 Prospect Street, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. Information about their services can be found at www.vnhcare.org