Cover photo for Rita Dorst's Obituary
Rita Dorst Profile Photo
1934 Rita 2020

Rita Dorst

October 12, 1934 — October 24, 2020

Orillia, formerly of Burk's Falls

Rita Frances Dorst (Farrell)

Rita Frances (Farrell) Dorst died peacefully at her home in Orillia, Ontario, Saturday, October 24th surrounded by her loving family. Rita is survived by a large and extended family; husband, Don; her seven children, Debra (George Gaydos) of Roswell, GA, their children, Andrew of Washington, DC, Emma Hinton (Trey) and their son Hayden of Roswell, GA; Kate (Jon Fukuto) of Sonoma, CA; Jim (Joanne Sigglekow) of Toronto; Lorie Chrysler of Orillia and her children, Christopher (Brittany) and their children, Grayson and Violet of Victoria Harbour, Mallory (Uri Ghosh) and their son, Jett, of Toronto, and Jenna of Korea; Holly (Steve Naylor) of Toronto; Christine and her children Alec and Maegan of San Diego, CA; and Shannon (Rob Hutchison) of Toronto. Rita is also survived by sister Lois Robbins of Amherstview, ON and brother, Peter C. Hill of North Bay.

Rita is also survived by extended family; Tim Bertrand (Jennifer Giesler), their daughters and grandchildren; Kevin Chrysler (Darra) their children and grandchildren; and Shelley Chrysler and her children.

Rita was predeceased by parents Katie and Telesphore Legassie, her sisters Agnes Dugas, Edna Alkins, and brothers Edgar and Bartley, of North Bay, husband Fred Farrell, and daughter Tracy.

Although Rita considered that her biggest accomplishment and her pride and joy were her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she had many talents and accomplishments in her own right. Rita worked in the nursery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in North Bay until her retirement in 1987. Over the years, she could be counted on to swaddle any one of her 6 grandchildren or 4 great grandchildren with expert precision.

Rita was a creative seamstress, writer and painter, the latter becoming a retirement past time. Her paintings and crafts are cherished mementos of Rita to friends and family. Although she had her own health challenges in recent months, she teamed up with daughter, Lorie, and granddaughter, Mallory, to sew and donate more than 1000 masks to Orillia’s Solders‘ Memorial Hospital. Rita loved to bake and do up preserves and pickles. Her pie crust set the gold standard for butter tarts and she shared many tips and secrets with her children and grandchildren as she taught each of them how to prepare them her way but encouraged them to add their personal touch.

For the past twelve years, when wintering in Brownsville, TX, Rita and Don trained and served as docents at the Gladys Porter Zoo. She particularly loved the giraffes and gorillas but was always game to get up close and personal with any of the animals on their outreach expeditions to promote conservation efforts.

The family would like to thank the many caring healthcare professionals that helped to care for her in recent months, as well as the many friends that helped make each day a little easier knowing that Rita was in their thoughts and prayers. We all are better for having her in our lives, grateful for the example she set for us, and will treasure our good memories.

There are no plans for a memorial service at this time. If you wish, tributes in her honour to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation or the Gladys Porter Zoo ( in Brownsville, TX, would be considered excellent choices by the family.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Opatovsky Funeral Home-Dempster Chapel, 210 Ontario Street in Burk's Falls.


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