Cover photo for Rita Calkins's Obituary
Rita Calkins Profile Photo
1931 Rita 2020

Rita Calkins

January 3, 1931 — January 28, 2020

On January 28, 2020, Rita passed away peacefully in her home in Lyndonville surrounded by love.

Rita was born on January 3, 1931, in Westmore, VT, daughter to the late Pearley and Daisy (Bullis) Gibson. She grew up in Westmore and went to school as dorm student at Lyndon Institute graduating in the Class of 1949.  She married Paul R. Calkins on June 14, 1953 sharing nearly 57 years at the time of his passing.

Rita was a very dynamic person, always on the go.  She supported her husband in all his business endeavors, all of which would not be what they are today without her.  She was the “silent” partner behind the businesses. She was always right on top of the numbers and keeping everything in order.  Her business skills were unmatched.  Rita also supported him in his dog water racing endeavors and snow mobile racing endeavors.  She was also an avid gardener.  She started planning the next year’s garden in the winter months, laying out the plot and ordering the seeds.  She canned and pickled and used every possible vegetable that she grew.  She always shared the extras.  She and her good friend, Joyce Lefaivre, were in friendly competition each year with their gardens.  She loved to pick berries and found many different uses for them.  She was composting before composting was cool.  Rita was an awesome cook.  She combed through magazines for new recipes and was never afraid to try something new.  You could always find her “Cinnamon Bun” (car) running up & down the hill, off to the store or the post office.  She was a very selfless person, always putting others needs ahead of her own.

Rita is survived by her children, Kevin L. Calkins and his daughter, Kelley; her daughter, Karen and her husband, Chris Martel; her stepson, Gary and his wife Emily and their children; Charles Calkins and wife, Robin; Gary Calkins Jr., Andrew Calkins and friend, Lori Dodge and Angela Calkins and friend, BJ Hartwell and several great grandchildren.

She leaves her beloved caregivers, Cindy St. Francis, Diane James, Jessica Bussiere and Angela Stevens without whom she would not have been able to stay in her home until her passing.  Most of all she leaves her constant companion, Muffin, the beautiful grey cat that rarely left her side.  She was predeceased by her parents, Pearley and Daisy Gibson, her brother, Neil Gibson, her husband, Paul R. Calkins and her dear friends,Beverly Paris, Wanetta Counter and Joyce Lefaivre.

Funeral Services will be held at 11AM on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the Lyndonville Congregational Church located at 52 Middle Street. Rev. Bruce Comiskey will officiate.  Burial will take place in the springtime at the Woodmont Cemetery in Burke.

Memorial donations may be made to with the Kingdom Animal Shelter, 1161 Portland St, St Johnsbury, VT 05819 or to the Lyndon Dog Pound, 6603 Memorial Drive, Lyndonville, Vermont 05851.

Condolences may be shared with the family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rita Calkins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am

Lyndonville First Congregational Church

168 Institute Cir, Lyndon, VT 05850

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