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Rita L. Beaupre

January 14, 1916 July 29, 2007
Rita L. Beaupre
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Obituary for Rita L. Beaupre

Rita L. Beaupre, a longtime Peoria resident, pinochle enthusiast, devoted matriarch and teen spelling champion, died Sunday morning at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria. She was 91. Mrs. Beaupre--a sharp, focused woman who helped run her husband’s business while rearing six children--had a keen appreciation for her family’s diverse talents, supporting and nurturing each child’s unique abilities. Her four sons and two daughters grew to be a physicist, a newspaper editor, a marketing executive, a music teacher, a florist and a manager at Caterpillar, Inc. “She took great pride in her children’s achievements and variety of professions,” daughter Mary Ann Cunningham said. Mrs. Beaupre was born Rita Blanchette on Jan. 14, 1916, to Oscar Blanchette and Josephine Langlois. She grew up in St. George, a small farming community near Kankakee, with her sister and four brothers. She married Kenneth Beaupre on Aug. 26, 1939. As their family grew, they moved throughout Illinois and Iowa, before finally settling in Peoria, where Mrs. Beaupre spent nearly five decades. For years, she kept the books for her husband’s vacuum-cleaner business. After his death in 1968, she worked as an admitting clerk at Proctor Hospital, where she prided herself on the ability to spell complicated medical terms. Spelling, in fact, had always been a strength: As a teen, she won the Kankakee County Spelling Bee. Mrs. Beaupre loved playing cards, especially pinochle, and could always be counted on to help a friend or family member in need. She was a loving matriarch, remembering dozens of birthdays and anniversaries even as her family grew to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And she believed strongly in always doing the right thing. “Her moral compass was straight on,” Cunningham said. Mrs. Beaupre is survived by children James (Debbie), of Huntsville, Ala.; Joseph (Eileen), of Mapleton; Lawrence (Laurie), of Clarks Summit, Pa.; Jeanne Conarko of San Antonio, Tex.; Mary Ann Cunningham of Willow Spring, Ill.; and Dennis (Lisa) of West Peoria; as well as 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Visitation will be held 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Family Catholic Church, followed immediately by a funeral Mass led by the Most Reverend Roger Kaffer, retired auxiliary bishop of Joliet. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. Wright & Salmon Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Donations may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, 2408 W. Heading Ave., West Peoria, Ill., 61604. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to


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