Rita was born in the St. Boniface Hospital just minutes into January 2, 1952 to parents Louis and Marie Paradis. She tells the story that her mother was given the New Year’s baby gifts and then had them taken back as there had been a mistake.
She started her schooling in Ile de Chene along with sisters Louise and Lorraine.
She moved to Roblin with her parents and sisters Louise, Lorraine and brother Leo in 1965.
In 1969 she married Lennis Branconnier at Roblin and was blessed with three children Rick, Mark and Lisa. She always could tell stories about Rick and Mark growing up and her trying to keep up with them. When Lisa was born, she had someone to confide in.
With her children maturing she felt unfulfilled and took the Licensed Practical Nursing Course at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon and graduated on July 24,1996. She immediately got a position at the Minnedosa General Hospital. Later she worked at the Erikson and Portage hospitals. In 1997 she received an Emergency Responder Certificate as she volunteered for ambulance duty.
After retiring from nursing in 2011 she taught the Health Care Aide course at Robertson College in Winnipeg. Her students admired and respected her as she often talked about her experiences in the health field-this was far more interesting to them than reading a text book. She was tickled pink when she received cards and small homemade gifts at the conclusion of each term. After a change in management at Robertson College she decided to work in Home Care in Winnipeg. She enjoyed that for the most part but it was physically demanding on her at times. Caring for people was her calling and she was very professional and compassionate.
She sang and played in the family band “Country Roads” with Lennis and her sons on many weekends and became well known for entertainment. She preferred Classic Country and always listened or sang along. She always looked forward to singing with her sister Louise whenever they could get together-the harmony sounded so professional. She loved singing with her sons and daughter and also with her mother Marie playing the piano. Such a talented family!!
Always beautiful and immaculate in her appearance, she was a regular at the nail salon, she loved purses, shoes and clothes, although the garment tags had to be removed as they irritated her skin. She enjoyed having a massage as well and had a special relationship with Mirtha. She was very proud of her children and grandchildren and loved all unconditionally.
She remarried in 2003 to Gary Lawrence at Portage la Prairie and was immediately accepted by his family and grandchildren. She always had enough love and hugs to spread around.
She loved to play card games and watch decorating shows on TV for new ideas. We were a two TV family-one for decorating shows and the other for sports. She was often teased about her Paradis patience and would laugh about it, most of the time. She had a good heart and sense of humor as the many people that met her can confirm. She loved to travel and took numerous cruises and winter holidays with Gary. She thoroughly enjoyed a New Orleans holiday and Alaskan cruise with sister Louise. She didn’t have many close friends besides her sister Louise but Joyce, Mirtha and Madeline are at the top of the list along with daughter Lisa and her daughters-in-law Kim, Marla, Lisa L. , Carrie and Nancy.
She was a real trooper as she suffered from pain and other health problems for the last several years which restricted her outgoing personality and any outings, but she took it in stride.
We were all fortunate to know and love her and know that she’s finally pain free.
Hope to see you later sweetheart.
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