Rita May Barnhart

November 18, 1929 ~ May 24, 2021 (age 91)


With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Rita May (Coakley) Barnhart, my loving and devoted mother and friend to all whose lives she touched, on May 24TH 4:35 p.m. due to congestive heart failure. She left us while sleeping peacefully at Vancrest in Delphos, OH. Mom was on her 3RD day of Hospice Care after 6 days at Mercy Health (St. Rita’s Hospital) and 5 days rehab at Vancrest.  She was in her 91st year.

Born in Nahant, Massachusetts, to Bernard and Eleanor (Dussault) Coakley, who preceded her in death. She witnessed many incredible changes to her world and to her last day she still refused to eat pancakes since she lived on them during the Great Depression. Although she still loved her Boston Baked Beans with molasses and Yorkshire Pudding. She served three years with the U.S. Army aboard the U.S. General Maurice Rose Transport Ship. Rita made 24 Atlantic crossings out of New York Harbor to numerous ports of Germany.

During her active years with the military, she met her loving husband, Allie E. Barnhart Jr., who also served for three years on the U.S. Rose. They made all of the crossings together and on their final year of service they secretly were married on December 9, 1949 (55 years).  It was against military conduct for the men and women aboard ship to have personal relationships.

She was the beloved mother of Edward (Robbin) Barnhart. Rita was predeceased by her devoted husband, Allie E. Barnhart Jr., on December 20, 2004; her sister, Bernice (Coakley) Healy on April 8, 2021; and her brother, Edward Coakley in 2001.

Rita lived a full life as a wonderful mother, homemaker and worker in the offices of two different manufacturing facilities. She worked eight years at Aeroquip (Eaton) Corp. and retired after 25 years as office manager at Philips Lighting (FLP). Both facilities are in Van Wert, OH.

She loved to cook, kept an immaculate house, and was highly skilled at solely preparing a Thanksgiving Day Feast. During her retirement years, she made many trips to Bar Harbor, Maine for the Tall Ship Festival. But the one place she loved the most was Gatlinburg, TN. About eight times a year she would hear the mountains calling her and with her bags always packed and ready, off they would go again to the Smokey Mountains. She will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.

Rita’s wishes were to be cremated with a family burial at a later date. Condolences may be sent to her son at 3255 W. State Rd. Elida, OH 45807 and at

Memorial Contributions may be sent to Sugar Creek Township Park, 4130 W. Lincoln Hwy, Gomer, OH 45809.



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