In Memory of

Rita

Noela

Kennedy

(Ranson)

Obituary for Rita Noela Kennedy (Ranson)

Rita Kennedy passed away peacefully on June 21, 2023 with her daughters by her side, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Rita will be forever loved and remembered by her daughters; Michele (Larry) Morrison, Simone (John) Bailly, Theresa (Sean) Sullivan and Karen Kennedy; nine grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren; sisters Sharon Ganton, Linda (Brian) Magee, Diane (Jason) Reimer and brothers; Glen (Roseanne) Pragnell and Mike (Elaine) Pragnell and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She will join in heaven her adoptive parents Jerry Ranson, Rose Winsel, her biological mother Gilberta Pragnell, her stepfather, Ken Pragnell, her husband Ross, sister Yvonne Ranson, sister Jane Moore and brother-in-law Ed Moore.
Born in Regina on December 25, 1941, Rita was 2 years old when she was adopted by Jerry and Rose Ranson and first experienced the love and security of a family. She was raised in Biggar, Saskatchewan with two sisters (Yvonne and Sharon). Her life was touched by tragedy at the age of seven when her father passed away, again when she was 14 and her older sister Yvonne was killed in a car accident and at 29 when her mother died of cancer.
Rita took her academic and musical education with the Sisters of the Assumption and worked in the Commercial bank in Biggar after high school. She felt the need to spread her wings so moved to Saskatoon where she worked in the business office at SaskTel for 5 years. It was here she met and married Ross Kennedy, and their first daughter, Michele, was born. Ross was soon transferred to Rosetown, where Rita satisfied her desire for a large family by having three more daughters (Simone, Theresa, and Karen) while beginning her career as a piano teacher.

The family moved to Regina in 1970 and Rita pursued her musical studies with Gordon Wallis at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She completed all her written requirements at the Conservatory and even won a theory scholarship. When Ross took a temporary position with Trans Canada Telephone System in 1974 and the family moved to Ottawa, Rita pursued an exciting musical adventure and learning experience - studying with Sister Sheila Finnerty at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and playing her Associate exam.

Upon returning to Regina in 1976, Rita was active in the Order of Royal Purple, serving as District Deputy in 1981.

Rita was reunited with her biological mother, Gilberta (Normand) Pragnell, in 1982. The great joy she felt at being welcomed into the family healed a lifelong void. She gained three new sisters (Jane, Diane, and Linda), two brothers (Glen and Mike) and established deep connections with aunts, uncles and cousins.

Music was a passion for Rita. In addition to teaching piano from her home studio, she served as Provincial President of the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association from 1989 to 1991 and completed her Licentiate Teacher’s Diploma in Piano Performance from Trinity College of Music, London, England in 1991. She attended national and international summer schools of music and enjoyed accompanying singers and instrumentalists. She adjudicated for the Saskatchewan Music Festival and music festivals in Alberta and British Columbia. She served as 2nd Vice President of the Regina Music Festival and Past-President of the Regina branch of the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association. She was deeply committed to initiating young people into music, establishing the Heart of City music program in Regina to give inner-city children the opportunity to learn piano.

Rita and Ross moved to Red Deer in 2002 and built the home studio of her dreams to continue teaching piano. She became an engaged and valued member of the Red Deer branch of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association, establishing the Contemporary Showcase and continuing to adjudicate. She also played piano at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and sang in the choir. Rita ended her 44-year teaching career in 2012.

Rita made lifelong friends in the cities she lived in and loved hosting gatherings. The house was filled with family and friends and lots of laughter at holidays and special events.

Rita was never one to sit still, and dedicated her spare time to crafts, gardening, or reading. She enjoyed sewing, quilting, crocheting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, and ceramics. She was a talented seamstress who made dresses, coats, pajamas, curtains, tablecloths, and blankets for those she loved. Many family members were lucky recipients of her beautiful hand-crafted gifts.

A Celebration of Rita’s Life will be held at Parkland Funeral Home, 6287 – 67A Street (Taylor Drive), Red Deer, Alberta on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. For those unable to attend in person, please go to www.parklandfuneralhome.com and click on the live stream button. If desired, Memorial Donations in Rita’s honour may be made directly to the Bethany Care Foundation at www.bethanycarefoundation.com or to your local Alzheimer’s Society. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed at www.parklandfuneralhome.com. Arrangements in care of Parkland Funeral Home and Crematorium, 6287 – 67 A Street (Taylor Drive), Red Deer. 403.340.4040.