Rita LaRocca Duell of Port Charlotte, FL (formerly of Chestertown, MD) passed away peacefully at her South Port home. She was 86 years old. Born on May 24, 1935 in Rochester, NY, she was the daughter of the late Giuseppe (Joseph D) and Antonia (Anna) Carmelo Valone LaRocca. Rita grew up in Rochester with her two brothers. She graduated from Brighton High School in 1954. She then attended SUNY at Plattsburgh earning both a BS and MS in education. On June 28, 1958 she married the love of her life, Joe. They moved to Venice, FL and created a wonderful life together. Rita was a Home Economics teacher at Venice High School. In 1962, she became a homemaker, raising her two children. She returned to the work force when Jennifer left for college, working for the WIC program for numerous years. She ran a small cake business simultaneously, her most popular request being the strawberry cake. She enjoyed her friends immensely, coordinating crafting sessions, hosting parties and picnics, bowling and playing bridge. In 1993, Rita and Joe returned to Florida, this time settling in Port Charlotte. She was a volunteer at the Charlotte County Cultural Center, Fawcett Memorial Hospital and as an usher for the Charlotte Players. COVID brought that to a screeching halt. After Joe’s passing, she moved to South Port Square.There she reprised her title of “social director” coordinating game nights. She enjoyed playing bridge, shuffleboard, crosswords, the Sunday organ music, and happy hour with all her friends. Along with her parents, she is predeceased in death by her husband of 61 years, Joseph Duell and her brothers Joseph (Ted) LaRocca and Charles (Chuck) LaRocca. Rita is survived by her daughter Jennifer Casey (Charles) and son Kevin Duell (Michelle); 3 grandchildren; Kaitlyn Casey, Karli Casey, and Kate Duell; and many nieces and nephews. A gathering of friends and family will be held on Monday, December 20 from 10:00 AM to Noon at Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery, 9400 Indian Spring Cemetery Road in Punta Gorda, FL. Cremation is Rita’s wish and her cremated remains will be interred at Sarasota National Cemetery at a later time. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org).