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Rita G. Lovejoy
August 01, 2022


Surrounded by her loving and devoted family, Rita Gertrude (Bellacqua) Lovejoy, 73, passed away peacefully at her home in Bellingham, MA on August 1, 2022. Rita’s bravery and courage as she battled her illness for years uplifted and inspired her countless family members and friends; many of whom were able to visit with her in her final days. Her strength (and even a little bit of her stubbornness!) will live on in all who loved her.

Rita was born in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard on October 20, 1948 to parents Colombo Bellacqua and Gertrude (Dennehy) Bellacqua. Rita spent her youth in Milford, MA and has lived in Bellingham, MA for over forty years.

Rita is survived by her love-of-a-lifetime soulmate, husband Frank E. Lovejoy, with whom she recently celebrated fifty years of marriage. The couple faced Rita’s illness side-by-side with unwavering strength and an unbreakable bond, as they did everything else in their life together. Rita is also survived by her beloved son, Dana V. Lovejoy and his partner Kate Salome. Rita was so proud of her son; he brought her endless joy and was the apple of her eye from day one!

Rita’s dedicated and supportive village includes: sisters Nancy Cerutti of Bellingham, MA, Mary Ceolinski and her husband David of Blackstone, MA, and Joanne Bellacqua and her partner Anna Majeau of Uxbridge, MA; brothers Frederick Bellacqua and his wife Rosemary of Milford, MA and Thomas Bellacqua and his wife Barbara of Uxbridge, MA; sisters-in-law Ellen Morey and her husband Ken of Cotuit, MA and Lorraine Lovejoy of Maynard, MA; brother-in-law Ralph Lovejoy and his wife Jeanette of Blackstone, MA; lifelong best friend Theresa Bellantuoni of Milford, MA; her many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family; and countless friends.

Rita is preceded in death by her parents, brother Robert Bellacqua, and brother-in-law Steve Lovejoy and his wife Marjorie.

Rita graduated from Milford High School and her career took her all over Massachusetts with many years spent at John Hancock Financial, New England Telephone and Dean College. Everywhere she worked and everywhere she went, Rita started out with colleagues and acquaintances who most often became fast friends. Rita truly made friends everywhere she went; once you knew her, you loved her, and once you loved her, she became a friend for life. It was so heartening for Rita and her family to be visited and supported by this large circle of friends in her final weeks.

Rita filled her world and her home with all that she cherished and enjoyed: music, a number of cats and dogs throughout the years, and endless photos, trinkets, and mementos from a lifetime of family, friends, and travels. She also loved to shop and should receive an award as one of Avon’s most long-standing and loyal customers! Rita liked going out to eat and delighted in adventures with her best friend, Terry! She also spent many wonderful and peaceful vacations in Maine with her husband, son, and extended family and friends. Rita lived a full life of laughter and just the right amount of sarcasm and sass!

Frank, Dana, and family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the many medical professionals, especially those at Milford Regional Medical Center and Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center at MRMC who tirelessly cared for Rita with compassion and kindness; the family would also like to thank all of the Bellingham EMTs who supported Rita with professionalism and care.

A private interment will be held at Scott Cemetery in Bellingham. At a later date, family and friends are invited to gather together to celebrate and honor Rita’s life; a memorial Mass at Saint Blaise Catholic Church in Bellingham, will be announced.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes memorial contributions be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (800-628-0028,

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Charles F. Oteri and Son - Franklin Funeral Home
33 Cottage Street
Franklin, MA 02038