Rita Rachel Bowden

July 12, 1923 ~ October 6, 2020 (age 97)


Rita Grenier Bowden passed peacefully October 6, 2020 at The Pinnacle of South Portland (formerly South Portland Nursing Home) with her daughter Linda Sanborn at her side. Rita was born July 12,1923 in Biddeford, Maine to Harmidos Grenier and Rose Anna Bolduc. Her parents had emigrated from Canada to Biddeford for work in the Biddeford textile/shoe mills. Rita was the youngest of a large French-Canadian family with 8 siblings. She went to school in Biddeford until the 6th grade, leaving to go to work in the Pepperell Mill during the post-depression era of the mid-1930s.

Rita was always very close to her older sister Yvonne (Lynch.) They both settled in Portland and went to work at Nissen’s Bakery on Washington Ave. It was at Nissen’s where Rita met her husband Jim. They married in 1952, and Jim built their home on Eastman Rd in Cape Elizabeth where they lived for over 50 years. Rita and Jim had 3 children.

Daniel (deceased in 2017) who had 2 daughters, Rachel and Rhonda.  Rachel married David Blazekovic and they live in Wisconsin with their have 4 children: David, Taylor, Sydney and Payton. Rhonda has a son Grayson and lives in Arizona.

Daughter Linda Sanborn of South Portland, has 2 children. Stephanie Sanborn who is married to Scott Benson. They live in Venice CA with their 2 daughters Shaye and Asa. Linda also has a son Kevin who lives in Philadelphia with his wife Laura. Kevin has 2 daughters, Madison and Natalie.

Youngest son James A. Bowden, Sr. and his wife Marie live in Otisfield, ME. They own Mainely Action Sports in Oxford.  They have 2 children, James A. Bowden, Jr and Kristina Bowden Reimers. Kristina has 2 daughters, Hannah Noel and Lyla Grace Reimers. They all live in the Otisfield/Oxford area.

Rita is also survived by several nieces and nephews. She lovingly spent a great deal of time with Yvonne’s daughters Patty Paiement, her goddaughter, and Lucille Leeney.

Rita later went to work for Fairchild Semiconductor in the late 60s from where she retired. Yet, to know Rita, is to know that she never really retired as she treated one of her greatest passions with the zeal and commitment as most do their employment. Her favorite pastime was bingo, and she could often be heard saying, “I am going to my job now”, before heading to VIP Bingo on John Roberts Rd. She was an ardent bingo player and had several long-term friendships there.  Rita was also a serious cribbage player. She would host hours of cribbage playing with family members, and never shied away from a friendly wager.  Her grandson-in-law, Scott lovingly said “She loved to kick my butt at cribbage - she was ruthless.”

One of Rita’s biggest treats was when she could go to the casino. Her son Jim used to take her either to Foxwoods or Oxford Casino. She would go nonstop for hours at the slots, she never tired. In fact, Rita and Jim’s 50th Anniversary was held at Foxwoods, joined by family and friends. While the rest of the anniversary party was heading to bed, Rita was just getting started and everyone had to do rounds to keep up with her.

Rita had a child-like enthusiasm and lightness that brought fun, and often hilarity, to every moment.  Her comedic timing was always the perfect set-up for her husband’s playful antics. Together, they created a home that welcomed friends, family, and community to experience their love for each other and life. Visitors could always expect endless games, laughter, and a beer (or two) to accompany the stories. Theirs was the home for every holiday, every celebration, and a refuge from the hectic lives we lived to build memories together.    

Her husband Jim died in 2010. Rita went to live with her daughter Linda in South Portland until moving into Fallbrook Woods Memory Care from 2011 until 2018 and then she transitioned to South Portland Nursing Home (now The Pinnacle at South Portland.)

The family wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the administration and staff at Fallbrook Memory Care for the warm, compassionate, and extraordinary care she received there for 7 years.

We also want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of the staff and administrators at The Pinnacle of South Portland. The staff went above and beyond every step along the way. They tirelessly have worked to keep all residents safe throughout this COVID 19 pandemic and have NOT had even 1 (+) case at their facility. Rita received exceptional and compassionate end of life care at The Pinnacle.

In keeping with Rita’s wishes, there will be no memorial service. Donations in her name may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association. 383 US Route One #2C, Scarborough, ME 04074


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