Rita McIlhenny

Obituary of Rita A. McIlhenny

With profound sadness we announce the passing of Rita McIlhenny (nee Maher) our loving and devoted mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to all whose lives she touched, on February 1, 2021. She was 90 years old. She courageously battled cancer, all while never losing her zest for life and laughter. She was surrounded and comforted by her children. Born on December 31, 1930 to Joseph and Theresa in Philadelphia, PA where she lived until she met and married William “Don” McIlhenny, a Sun Oil Company Executive, and settled in Willow Grove, PA where they raised their three children. She lived there until moving into her own apartment at Wesley Enhanced Living, Hatboro, PA in 2018. She was the beloved mother of William, Brian (Carol), and Beth Sullivan (Jack), doting grandmother to Brendan and Erin McIlhenny and Ryan and Molly Sullivan. Predeceased by her cherished husband Don, brother Robert and brother-in-law Lou Plunkett. She leaves behind sister Theresa Plunkett and brother Joseph Maher (Liz), sister-in-law Kay Lansing, along with many nieces and nephews. Rita lived a full life as a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother being ever-present in her grandchildren’s many activities. You could find her climbing the steps of the Super Dome to witness her grandson Brendan graduate from Tulane or on the sidelines of many of Ryan’s football games, and Erin’s field hockey games. She was a very good patient as granddaughter Molly practiced Occupational Therapy on her. Rita loved to travel and was always eager to be a part of any new adventure. She and Don traveled extensively throughout North America and overseas counting Italy and Spain amongst her most favorite places. They enjoyed escaping the cold of the northeast and spending time in the warmth of Naples, Florida where she would host her children and grandchildren. Rita and her siblings enjoyed summering at the Jersey shore in the cottage their father built in Whale Beach, NJ. After the Nor’easter of ’62 the house was then moved to the sleepy town of Strathmere where it still stands today. There, she loved to dote on her grandchildren, sunbathe on the beach people-watching, enjoy sipping a chilled Gin & Tonic while surrounded by family and friends. To her, there was nothing better. Rita was a member of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Abington, PA. She enjoyed socializing with her sorority sisters, reading, Book Club, sewing, going to open houses with her sister, attending the Flower Show, going to the theater, festive holidays, but most of all, she loved her family and instilled in them strong values that have served them well. Always in our thoughts and forever in our hearts. Relatives and friends may greet the family Monday 9:00 A.M. at Our Lady Help of Christians Church 1500 Marian Rd. Abington. Funeral Mass 10:00 A.M. Interment Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery Springfield Pa. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to help support the Abington Hospital Health Foundation: https://giving.jefferson.edu/abington-health-foundation/support-ahf.html#.YBrsr6Q8IlQ or mailed to: Abington Health Foundation, In memory of Rita McIlhenny, 1200 Old York Road Abington, PA 19001.