Rita Ann Bettenbender was born in Chicago, IL in 1931. A graduate of Loyola University’s Mundelein College, she was a teacher, actress and playwright. She and her late husband, John I. Bettenbender, moved to New Jersey in 1971 where he went on to become the founding dean of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. A recent resident of Montclair, New Jersey, Rita devoted many years to teaching film appreciation courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Rutgers University and, most recently, at the Montclair Public Library.
A passionate thinker, avid reader, devoted friend to many and a loving presence in the lives of her family members, Rita approached everything she did with energy, humor and kindness. She is survived by a son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren as well as seven step-children and their children and grandchildren.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a memorial gathering to celebrate her life. The gathering will be held at the Jaqui-Kuhn Funeral Home, 17 S. Adelaide Avenue, Highland Park, New Jersey 08904 on Saturday, January 25, 2020 between the hours of 11 am and 1 pm. A parking lot can be found behind the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, Rita asked that donations be made to Doctors Without Borders or the John I. Bettenbender Memorial Performance Award at Rutgers University. To donate to the Award, checks may be written payable to Rutgers University Foundation, noting John I. Bettenbender Memorial Performance Award on the check, and mailed to: Linda Christian, MGSA Associate Dean for Advancement, 33 Livingston Ave., Room 137, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.
To send flowers to Rita's family, please visit our floral section.