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Rita Curcuru

In Loving Memory

Curcuru, Rita

January 1, 1938 - May 28, 2024

In Loving Memory of Rita Curcuru

Born on New Year’s Day in 1938 in the small town of Cinisi, Sicily, Rita was one of five children of Guilia and Rosolino Cucinella. Losing her mother at the age of six impacted all aspects of her young life and taught her early on the importance of family and appreciating God’s blessings each day. Her life’s trajectory took a turn when she acted as a chaperone for her brother Nino Cucinella in courting Lia Curcuru. Rita never would have realized that in helping her brother in his pursuit of love that she, too, would find her partner.  Upon hearing that Nino’s beautiful and kind sister Rita would be chaperoning, Lia’s brother, Nunzio, eagerly volunteered to chaperone as well.  In those moments acting as chaperones to their siblings, Rita and Nunzio fell in love.

Rita promised to wait for Nunzio as he embarked on his journey to the United States to make a better life. Their love persisted across thousands of miles for five years until Nunzio finally returned to Cinsi where the two were married. The two loved and cherished one another for 46 years, creating a home of happiness, love, and comfort for their three children, Lorenzo Curcuru (wife Ann Curcuru), Nina Johnston (husband, Mark Johnston) and Rosolino Curcuru.


As an incredible cook, Rita’s kitchen was the heart of her home, where she hosted both family and friends for decades. She created a home where everyone was treated like family and every meal was accompanied by a sense of community. Rita’s talents extended far beyond the kitchen. She possessed a rare gift of sewing which she shared with so many. Rita’s hands and heart touched so many through the creation of wedding dresses, baptismal gowns, Halloween costumes, draperies and so much more. Rita loved to help make someone’s special event so much more memorable by creating what they imagined, weaving love into each stitch.


Among Rita’s greatest joys was spending time with her family including grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She showered them with love and affection, nurturing their spirits and enriching their lives with her wisdom and her warmth.  She played an instrumental role in each of their lives which they now pass on to their children. Rita’s grandchildren include Austen Curcuru (wife Laura Curcuru), Caitlin Curcuru (husband Govind Rangrass), Alex Curcuru, Alena Johnston (fiancé Jim Sanders), Nicholas Nunzio Johnston, and Nunzio Leo Curcuru. Rita’s great-grandchildren are Naveen and Clara Rangrass.


Rita’s heart knew no bounds, and her compassion touched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing her. She welcomed friends and family into her home with open arms, her smile a beacon of warmth, her kindness boundless, and her love unconditional.  We take comfort in the knowledge that her spirit lives on in the countless lives she touched and the memories she leaves behind.


Visitation: Kutis Affton Funeral Home – 10151 Gravois Road, St. Louis, MO 63123 – Monday, June 3rd, 8:30 AM – 10:45 AM.

Funeral services: Seven Holy Founders Catholic Church – 6737 S Rock Hill Rd, Affton, MO 63123 – Monday, June 3rd, 11 AM.

Interment Resurrection Cemetery.

In remembrance of Rita’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


5 thoughts on “Curcuru, Rita”

  1. Rita was such a kind woman and you were always welcome in her home. Rossilino and my son Michael😃 grew up together and he loved going up to visit the family. As I said all were always welcome. Her kindness and sewing ability was so appreciated very often by our family And was grateful to have her in our lives. Rest in peace Rita.

  2. What an incredible life and woman. Warmest blessings and condolences from your friends in Kentucky during this most difficult time.

  3. My beloved Aunt Rita. A remarkable woman with a rare gift who brought love and joy to all who knew her. So blessed and proud to have her in my life and an inspiration of how we should live our lives.

    Will always have fond memories such as those fantastic cookies she would have waiting for me during grade school years, the love she shared with Uncle Nunzio and her three beautiful children she raised and not to mention those every Sunday get together between our family and friends.

    Aunt Rita lived every day to the fullest and enjoyed friendships. She touched so many lives. Whether it was sewing, cooking, or anything else that could help someone, she just loved being around people.

    I will always remember Aunt Rita as a dedicated wife, fantastic mother and a caring person to all.

    There is no doubt in my mind that she is resting at peace with our Heavenly Father, and her loved ones who passed before her.


  4. As I commented yesterday, Rita was like a second Mom. My short comment did not appear, so now here is the long version. I remember when my Dad was so happy to meet a Sicilian man who worked in construction (concrete) and had kids our age. He invited the family over the very first time. We had fun on our new patio. I think I was 5 or 6 years old. I had grown up with my parents and grandparents speaking Sicilian, but this was new to hear all these younger people speaking it. The kids used to substitute “thing” when they could not think of the American word, so we used to guess what they meant or wanted sometimes. They were so cute. Rita was terrified of our dog. She eventually got over that, even letting the kids have a dog of their own, although not allowed in the house. Rosolino was so little, he was just getting potty-trained. I have enough memories of all of the family for a book. So many Summers, Christmases, birthdays, car pooling, crafts, roller skating, etc. She would drive us to Seven Holy Founders and ask me “Where is Christina?” every day. I would say, “Still looking in the mirror.” Chris would get in the car, and she would say, “Christina you look just like yesterday!” I loved that. We were as close as cousins, and maybe even closer. My Mom would drop them off at home after school. Every day Rita would invite my mother in for a cup of coffee. To non Italians, you don’t understand. I had homework, and a lot of it. A cup of coffee was just an excuse to talk. It could take an hour or two. I still remember some clothes she made for herself. There were tops and pants and matching “pant suits” that she passed on to me, and I wore them until I wore them out. I honestly remember the colors and styles to this day. Rita was always cooking or sewing or both. No idle hands in that house. Those were the good old days. I hope in heaven she has as many blessings as stitches she stitched. Not only was her sewing beautiful, but it was so fast. I was always amazed, and Nina was always the best dressed at work or dances or wherever. Lorenzo was fiercely protective of Rita. One very hot Summer day we had been out and went back to their house. I think the trip included Gravois Variety (woo hoo). She got home and took off her dress, and she just had a full slip on, which looked like a white dress. You would think she was standing in the street undressed. Lorenzo kept saying “Mom” Mom” and trying to close the drapes or shades. Still Lorenzo liked to test the limits. but Rita was not afraid to break a few wooden spoons to teach him a lesson. She loved beautiful things (porcelain, plants, etc.). She always had Gabby or Antoinette over or Zia Frances. She built an American family around her in the USA. Even their next door neighbor…the kids called Grandpa. I miss being called Han-Shee (Angie) and being told to put my hair up because it made her hot. Nunzio was the joker of the family, but Rita also used to make me laugh (just in a more quiet way). When I was older, I would stop by to visit and have a cup of coffee. She would tell me about Sicily during the war and the bombings, and illness she and her sister had suffered, and how she learned to sew. She told me the fear she had when they moved here, especially with the children, and mostly when Nunzio was at work. I never knew so much of that. I wish I had as a child, so I would have understood her more. I could not have loved her more, but it would have helped me understand and appreciate her more. She will always be missed. I wish I could say “a questo pasa”, but the loss never passes, it just gets a little easier with time.


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