Reita V. Zanardi, 92, of Batavia, passed away peacefully on Dec. 2, 2009, at Countryside Care Center in Aurora, Ill.
She was born on Aug. 1, 1917, the daughter of Alice (Harrison) and Hermann Jonas in Minneapolis, Minn.
Reita grew up in Minneapolis and attended local schools before her family moved to St. Charles in 1938.
She was united in marriage to Joseph Zanardi in 1938 in Springfield, Ill., but spent 71 of her memory-making years in the Fox Valley area.
Reita worked at many different manufacturing companies over the years, but the one thing that remained constant was her involvement in the area of quality control as an inspector. Her longest tenure was with Campana in Batavia.
She was a member of the Batavia VFW Womenâ€™s Auxiliary and served her community by being an election judge in Kane County for many years.
Reita had a joy for learning new skills and information that was charming and delightful, and possessed a manner that belied her years. Never too young to learn, she attended college in her 80s to enhance her piano playing abilities.
Never a stranger to hard work, Reita dedicated herself to each task and each job, whether it was in the working sector or just working in her garden. Summers and sunshine were a balm to her soul, and the time spent picking grapes for jam or sweet peas growing on a trellis were a treat unlike any other. The smells from the kitchen wafted through her home as she cooked and canned and passed on her knowledge to the next generations, even teaching her son Curt to make gravy.
When not in the kitchen, Reita enjoyed crocheting afghans and garments for her granddaughters. She also enjoyed traveling the U.S., memorializing each trip with a bounty of pictures. When she and her husband Joe began to attend flea markets, they never could imagine that a favorite pastime would become a passion. They soon became dealers specializing in old glass and pottery.
After Joe died in 1975, she continued dealing in glass and flea markets for many years. Late in life, she had a special friend in John Murphy, with whom she would share trips and activities that made her later years an adventure.
She now leaves her son, Curt (Marlene) Zanardi of St. Charles; two granddaughters, Heather (Norman) Pink of Aurora and Joanna (Matthew) Janecek of St. Charles; four great-grandchildren whom she called her â€œAngels,â€ Miles Janecek, Caden Pink, McCoy Janecek and Dante Pink; one sister, Betty McKamey of Dixon, Ill.; many nieces and nephews and a host of good friends.
She now joins her husband, Joseph; her brothers, Bud Stadler and John Harrison; and her good friend, John Murphy, who preceded her in death.
Private family services were handled with care by Conley Funeral Home, Elburn.
A memorial has been established in her name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the â€œReita Zanardi Memorialâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.