On October 21, 2022 Rita Jane (R.J.) Tennant Morrissey, 81, of Laurel, MT, passed away surrounded by her loving family.
Rita Jane was born on June 27, 1941 to Raymond and Dora Tennant in Dillon, MT.
In 1959, Rita graduated from Hamilton High School where she was active in band and Girls State. After graduating from high school, Rita attended Montana State University Missoula, now known as the University of Montana, home of the Montana Grizzlies. Rita later graduated from Warren Dickson Secretarial School of Berkeley, CA.
As a dedicated mother and grandmother, Rita never missed a music or theater performance by her children and grandchildren. When her girls joined the Girl Scouts, she jumped in with both feet and became their troop leader. She later served as Rainbow Mother Advisor for Laurel Rainbow Assembly #38. Rita dedicated many hours to cookie sales, weekly meetings, and organizing activities and service projects for young people. We will never forget the scavenger hunts that she created to help girls meet each other at Montana Rainbow Grand Assembly - all done without the use of computers.
For many years, Rita was an active member of GFWC, Order of the Eastern Star, Bridge Club, the Laurel Herbstfest Board, Christmas to Remember, and was THE Queen Bee of her local Red Hats.
In the late 1990s, Rita retired from her work as a bookkeeper at Suttons Sportswear. In her retirement, she enjoyed many hobbies and activities. She loved to swim with her friends at the Locomotive Fitness Center, was an avid reader, painter, and she made more macrame crafts than we will ever have room for. Rita especially loved spending time at her family’s cabin in the Bitterroot Mountains.
Rita was never afraid to put herself in the middle of the action. When she worked for JCPenney’s in Laurel, Crazy Daze was her favorite time. No one was safe from being serenaded by “Wheels”, the Rockstar from Outer Space. Rita loved with all her heart and was loved by all in return.
Rita is survived by her sister Betty (Tom) Lund and brother Edward (Sherry) Tennant, son Robert Lee (Yvonne) Morrissey Jr., daughters Rosalind (Robert) Bullis, Roxanne Morrissey, and Rhonda (Michael) Miller, grandchildren Michael and Hannah Morrissey, Hazel and Benjamin Bullis, Amanda Peterson, and Brynnan and Serena Miller, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews, and one great grandchild.
Rita is predeceased by her husband, Robert Lee Morrissey Sr., and her parents, Dora and Raymond Tennant.
A memorial contribution in Rita’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society (P.O. Box 6704, Hagerstown, MD 21741), Laurel Christmas to Remember (P.O. Box 463 Laurel, MT 59044), or Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals (office of Development 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607).
A private family memorial will be held at a later date.