We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Location
Rita D’Amico passed Saturday, January 8, 2022—her 87th birthday. Leaving the earth on the same day she came into it seems right in line with her characteristic flair. She was hilarious, eccentric, creative, ambitious, artistic, loved animals almost as much as they loved her, cheered for Ohio State loudly and publicly, and held such a presence in a room—she was unapologetically herself in a way others aspire to be. She loved to tell stories about living in Manhattan and working as an artist for McGraw Hill at a time when women weren’t usually allowed careers like hers, loved to make silly faces and drink martinis and to experience the height of every emotion she felt. Every person Rita met (and surely made laugh) is a bit brighter for knowing her and every corner of the world she graced is surely a bit darker now that she’s gone.
Rita, born Rita Huffaker to her parents Theresa “Cookie” Cook Huffaker and Robert Moreland Huffaker on January 8, 1935, graduated from Bexley High School before studying Fine Arts at The Ohio State University and moving to New York to begin a promising career. She held positions as a graphic designer and as an art director, most notably for McGraw Hill Publishing. She told stories of these days in Manhattan through warm vignettes—the meeting of her beloved husband Marty D’Amico while watching a Giants game, a social life that built lifelong friendships, a successful career that allowed her creativity to blossom.
Rita’s heart belonged to her family but also to sports (especially Ohio State Football), animals, and art. Her philanthropic endeavors reflected these passions. She worked with groups like Friends of the Wayne Animal Shelter, Brevard County Alliance for Pet Therapy; was a member of The Red Hat Society; delivered for Meals on Wheels; served as the president of The Brevard County Library and first female president of the Suntree Golf Club.
Into her final days Rita found comfort and familiarity in creating still life illustrations and Etch-a-Sketch creations alike. Rita adored art and being an artist, but the truest love of her life was Marty. They were married December 1, 1962, in New York City; photos of the day show Marty smitten, sharp in his tuxedo and Rita ethereal, elegant in a timeless gown. The album captures a moment in a time long past, but the draw between Marty and Rita is the same one they shared as their life together grew and shifted into parenthood, retirement, being grandparents, and aging for more than six decades. Together Rita and Marty had moved from New York City to Waterbury, Connecticut before settling in Wayne, New Jersey to raise their family and retiring to Melbourne, Florida—where they had been living since 1992 when Rita passed.
Rita Huffaker D’Amico is preceded in death by her parents Theresa “Cookie” Cook Huffaker and Robert Moreland Huffaker. She is survived by her husband Mariano (Marty) D’Amico; children Teri D’Amico, Jennifer Tabak and her husband Zack Tabak, and Robert D’Amico; and her grandchildren JessieAnne D’Amico, Russell D’Amico, Francesca Tabak, Jenna D’Amico, and Gracie D’Amico. Rita was surely greeted by a lifetime of beloved pets thrilled to see her once again.
Rita’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to The Pet Therapy Alliance of Brevard County.