Rita Smeriglio-Stopa, 81


Rita Smeriglio-Stopa, 81, passed away on July 6, 2024. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Rita was born on August 18, 1942, in Chicago. IL, where she spent her formative years with her parents, Rocco and Margaret Smeriglio (Cozzi). She attended Trinity High School, graduating in 1960 and continued attending high school reunions with her dear friends up until a few years ago.  She graduated from the University of Illinois, Cum Laude, with a BA in Psychology and Social Work.  After graduation, Rita worked for and retired from the State of Illinois.  Throughout her career, she was known for her hard work, dedication, and passion for helping others.

After moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico, Rita was actively involved with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), increasing membership and making new lifelong friends.  Rita was a longtime volunteer with the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, organizing events and most recently, the Woman of Distinction Award luncheon in 2019.  Rita was an advocate and supporter for Dress the Child, a local nonprofit committed to helping children in need.  She and her husband Joe have been wonderful supporters of many local nonprofits.                            

But more than anything, Rita was a devoted grandmother. She loved spending time with her grandchildren, staying active in their lives and instilling in them a strong sense of self.  She was always there to offer guidance, support, and encouragement, no matter what challenges they faced.

In her free time, Rita enjoyed spending time with her friends, laughing and offering solid advice through encouragement and love.  She was always eager to head out for a great meal or stay at home and cook up a storm for her friends.  She loved champagne and a strong Old Fashioned and had a fantastic sense of humor. 

Rita is survived by her loving husband, Joe, their son Robert “Robbie” Stopa of Portland, OR, daughter in law, Christine, grandchildren, Ben, Billy and Kenny as well as cousins in Arizona and Illinois.   Her memory will be cherished by all who knew her and loved her as the epitome of strength and grace.

A celebration of life will be held for family and friends on July 20, 2024, at Farm and Ranch between 12-2PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Revolution 120 Cancer Warriors,

Obituary, Rita Smeriglio-Stopa, 81