- Rita Applegate Memorial -
April 24, 1924 - November 19, 2007
 
To Our Beloved Rita,
We Love You and Miss You
 
Rita, San Diego Rose Show
 May 19, 2007
 
Coe and Rita Applegate
 May 4, 2002 
Miriam and Rita, East CountyRose Show
 October 13, 2007
Leroy, Rita and Cliff, CCRS Rose Show
 May 5, 2007
 
Bren, Geri, Rita and Coe
 May 4, 2002
Liz, Julie Newmar and Rita
 Armstrong Rose Show - 2004

 

 

In Memoriam

 

Rita Applegate

 

 

           The San Diego Rose Society, the East County Rose Society and the rose world at large have lost one of their greatly admired supporters and loyal patrons.   From the very first day you met Rita Applegate, you instantly recognized Rita was a woman of high integrity with a deep respect for shared values and lasting friendships.  There has been no one who has not been touched by her gentle, sometimes admittedly persuasive, manner and kind words as she meticulously wove roses into the fabric of her private life to bring the joy of roses much closer as well as its shining reward of camaraderie.  

            Supporting fully her husband, Coe Applegate who passed away several years ago, together they spanned a wonderful 50+ years of happily married life, many as top rose exhibitors in the ARS Pacific Southwest District.  Dedication to the cause of volunteer rose service was second nature to Rita, never failing to offer whatever help she could, under whatever circumstances.  For Rita Applegate the act of volunteer service was seemingly reward enough - a rare attribute within the modern world today.

            No obituary can do full justice to a lady of this high caliber, for her character and achievements are extensive indeed - a quiet wife with her heart and soul devoted to her family and roses. 

            We are all left with fond memories of a great lady and a true rose champion! Life cannot remain the same without dear Rita.  Remembrance of who and what she stood for may be the guiding beacon of light by which others will continue to emulate her gentle character and manner thereby celebrating the life of a great lady by their example.  While Rita will no longer share our daily lives, we offer our combined affectionate sympathies to her surviving daughter, Denise, who must manage life without Rita, a most loving and devoted mother.

 

                                                                                                                     

Tommy Cairns


  
 
To The Board and Members of the California Coastal Rose Society:
 
Words cannot express my gratitude for the loving memorial you have prepared in memory of my Mother.  As Tommy said, life without Mom is something I am trying to come to grips with.  It's been difficult to believe she's gone.  She passed quickly and with such dignity that I have to be happy in my heart that she didn't linger in pain with the cancer she had been diagnosed with in September.  Mom was my best and closest friend and we shared many a laugh together about things no one else in the world would either understand or find amusing.  I shall miss our yearly trip to the central coast where we would really let our hair down and just goof off for a week or so.  It was perhaps the most relaxed and carefree she had been since Dad passed away.
 
Mom missed Dad every minute of every day and I know that they are back in each other's arms, big smiles on their faces, and full of the joy of true love.  I cannot be anything but happy for them both.  However, for those of us left behind, it is a time of remembrance that I hope will bring smiles to those who think of her.  Mom would not want us to grieve.  That's always easy to say but difficult to achieve.  Having many caring friends has made this time easier for me and I hope those that miss her most will gather for comfort and shared memories.
 
After Dad and I, what Mom loved most were all the people who colored her world.  She made more friends through the love of roses than I think she had ever had at any one time in her life.  You all were the true flowers in her personal garden and she cherished so many people I cannot begin to thank them all for being true friends to her, especially after Dad passed away.  You are what kept her going through incredible grief and loneliness and you gave her something to look forward to in her life.
 
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful tribute to my Mother.  If there was one message Mom would have wanted to pass on to you, it would be to love one another, cherish and grow your friendships and let your common love of the rose be the inspiration to see the beauty not only in  roses, but also the beauty in the rose grower.  Have fun with your life, cherish those who love you, enjoy the beauty of the roses you grow, and keep the competition friendly.
 
Sincerely,
 
Denise Torgerson

 

Rita  Applegate  Eulogy

by Dr. Tommy Cairns

 

 

We are gathered here today, in remembrance and celebration of the life of Rita Applegate, united not only in our grief, but also in our desire to pay our respects to Rita, combined with the compelling motivation to declare it so.  Today is our chance to say thank you Rita for the way you have brightened all our lives for many years. 

 

Rita was the youngest of four children born in1924 in Worcester, MA to immigrant parents, Lena and John Kaides from Lithuania.  She grew up in San Francisco and worked all her adult life as an office manager and bookkeeper in Mesa, California, well known for her diligence in keeping everything shipshape and in control.

 

Supporting fully her husband, Coe Applegate, who passed away several years ago, together they spanned a wonderful 50+ years of happily married life, many as top rose exhibitors in the ARS Pacific Southwest District.  Their passion for growing floribundas and hybrid teas often translated into many winning entries at rose shows, locally, district and nationally.  I often recollect that wonderful day in 2002  when Coe and Rita won the coveted “Queen of Show” at Rose Hills with the rose ‘Thriller’ enjoying the thrill of victory by taking home the gigantic silver punch bowl.  Little did Coe and Rita know that 2002 was to be their silver year for they were honored by the ARS Pacific Southwest District receiving the Silver Honor Medal.

 

Dedication to the cause of volunteer service was second nature to Rita, never failing to offer whatever help she could, under whatever circumstances. For Rita Applegate the act of volunteer service was seemingly reward enough - a rare attribute within the modern world today.  The San Diego Rose Society, the East County Rose Society and the rose community at large have lost one of their greatly admired supporters and loyal patrons.   Her bible study class and the Seniors Club here at Santa Sophia Catholic Church have also lost a most devoted friend and superb organizer.

 

This is not the time to recount the infinite services of this glorious and gracious lady for the list would be as inexhaustible as her energies. From the very first day you met Rita Applegate, you instantly recognized she was a woman of high integrity with a deep respect for shared values and lasting friendships.  There has been no one who has not been touched by her gentle, sometimes admittedly persuasive, manner and kind words as she meticulously wove the love and passion for roses into the fabric of her private life to bring the joy of roses much closer as well as its shining reward of camaraderie.

 

In essence, she had rewarded each of her friends by opening personal accounts in the Bank of Humanity & Compassion, permitting each of us to withdraw when in need, for she was always there to offer help and assistance.  Eleanor Roosevelt once remarked  “that many people walk in and out of our lives, but few leave footprints in our heart”.  Rita always left large footprints! She rekindled faith in ourselves.  Now that she is gone, the legacy of her lifetime will do no less.

 

How much she has done – how much still unchronicled!   We dare not try to tabulate the lives she touched, the problems - known and unrecorded - she solved, the afflicted she comforted, the people she gave radiance to, by her manner and attention. 

What better measure is there of the impact of anyone’s life?  What we have lost in Rita Applegate is not her life.  She lived that out to the very full.  What we have lost, what we wish to recall to ourselves, to remember, is what she was herself.!

 

No eulogy can do full justice to a lady of this high caliber, for her character and achievements are extensive indeed - a quiet wife with her heart and soul devoted to her family and roses and her cats.  We are all left with fond memories of a great lady and a true rose champion!  Life cannot remain the same without dear Rita.   Remembrance of who and what she stood for may be the guiding beacon of light by which others will continue to emulate her gentle character and manner thereby celebrating the life of a great lady by their example.

 

Albert Schweitzer wrote,  "No ray of sunlight is ever lost.  But the green which it wakes needs time to sprout.  And it is not always granted to the sewer to live to see the harvest.  All work that is worth anything is done in faith."  We pray that Rita has found peace, and her glimpse of sunset.  

 

While Rita will no longer share our daily lives, we offer our combined affectionate sympathies to her surviving daughter, Denise, her sister Mary Ann, and three nephews and a niece, who must manage life without Rita, a most loving and devoted mother.

 

The following prayer must surely express our combined grief and wishes:

 

“May the Lord God lift up his countenance to shine upon thee, Rita

as he reunites you with your loving husband, Coe, in Heaven”

Amen

 

Here ended the Eulogy.                                                                                  

 

 

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