Brown Funeral Home


Rita Elizabeth Tobias

December 9, 1922March 18, 2021

Rita Elizabeth (McGuire) Tobias passed away peacefully on March 18, 2021 at 98 years of age after a brief illness.

She was born December 9, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota the daughter of Joseph “Earl” and Marcella (Cornia) McGuire and was the second eldest of 11 siblings. As a young independent determined and feisty Irish lass, she ventured out on her own and moved to Flint, Michigan. She soon became the owner-operator of Rogers Studio, a successful portrait studio, in downtown Flint for over 30 years. Somehow, she was able to balance her time enough to raise eight adoring children. She always put the needs of others above her own. Ever the eternal, generous and selfless caregiver she found it her duty to lovingly nurse and care for any and all family members and/or friends in their times of need and till their deaths. As her grandson Jeff says, “She is absolutely a Saint, with an occasional bad word coming out of her mouth”.

She adored her entire family, as they did her. She loved her friends as if they were family. Rita lived her life by the words in The Prayer to St. Francis. As a devout Catholic, she was a member of her beloved St. Michael Catholic Church for over 70 years and longtime member of The Daughters of Isabella. Her rosary was a constant companion to the end.

Rita had lived in the Hurley East Village area since she was married with no intentions of leaving. In the late 70s as the neighborhood was on the decline and despite many obstacles and challenges, she and a handful of other homeowners took matters into their own hands. Eventually with the help of Hurley East Inc. (of which she was a board member), and NIPP (Neighborhood Improvement Preservation Project) she purchased seven abandoned and/or trashed homes in her immediate area. The homes were completely remodeled and provided to low-income families for a clean, safe, and comfortable living. With the help of her son, Michael, efforts continue towards the betterment of their neighborhood. In her free time, she enjoyed frequent trips to the casinos playing the daily lottery, family card games, bingo, playing the stock market and horseracing. The Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions would be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan.

Rita was married to the love of her life, Joseph D. Tobias Jr. for 42 years until his passing in 1989. She is survived by her children: Michael Tobias, Marjie (Jim) McGinnis, Maxine Ulmer, Mathew (Lisa) Tobias, Merit Grantham, Mark (Lily) Tobias and Mary Tobias. Proud Grandmother to Jeffrey Wittbrodt, Jennifer Ulmer-Jones, Mathew Tobias, Morgan Tobias-Coe, Mason Tobias, Tobi Grantham, Jodi Grantham-George, Malori Grantham and Rose Tobias; Great-Grandmother to eleven (11). She is also survived by brother, Paul McGuire; sisters: Pat (Mercogliano) Finch, Nan Wineman, and Michele Edwards; numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly; and special friend, Vicki Miller.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Joseph, son Marshall, grandson Joseph ”JT” Tobias; brothers: Joseph McGuire and John McGuire; sisters: Delores Klug, Maxine Powley, Mary Ann Monaco, and Maureen Ring.

“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened”. We know her Irish eyes are smiling as she is welcomed into heaven joining all her loved ones and in the arms of the Lord. We were truly blessed and proud to have called her Mom, Grandma, Sister, Aunt and Friend.

The family would like to offer their sincere thanks to Audra and Melissa of Kindred Hospice for their care, compassion and dedication given to their Mom in her final days.

In lieu of flowers the family kindly requests that memorial contributions be made to St. John Vianney Catholic School, 2319 Bagley St., Flint, MI, or St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center, 3115 Lawndale Ave., Flint, MI 48504.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11:00am on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 2415 Bagley St., Flint, Michigan. The Rosary will be prayed at 9:30am with visitation following until time of Mass. Officiated by Fr. Tom Firestone (A live-streamed of the Mass may be viewed Interment following at Old Calvary Cemetery, Flint, Michigan.

In accordance with state and local mandates, please wear a facial covering while at church, maintain social distancing, and obey guest attendance guidelines.

Fond memories and condolences may be offered to the family via the online guest book at



  • Rosary Service

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021

  • Visitation Before Mass

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021


  • Graveside Committal Service


Rita Elizabeth Tobias

have a memory or condolence to add?

Karen Boyd

March 26, 2021

To the Tobias family. I'm so sorry for your loss. I never had the privilege of meeting Rita. Although, through Mary's stories she shared about her mom, I felt as if I knew Miss Rita for years.
If only there were more kind people in this world, like Mrs. Tobias our world certainly would be a better place. Her children sure did love her, that's for sure. I say a extra prayer for Michael,who spent years caring for his mother's needs. The Tobias sibblings are caring and thoughtful , just like their mom. Prayers to all.

Christine Cozacioc

March 26, 2021

Dear Mike, Margie, and Family
So sorry to hear of your mother's passing,
Sending my condolences to you all at this sad time.

God Bless.

Warm regards,
Christine (Angst) Cozacioc

Ramon Molina

March 24, 2021

Marjie, Maxine, Matt, Merit, Mark and Michael and Mary, my deepest condolences for your moms passing, my prayers for all.
A long time ago your mom and I were members of the Consumers Power citizens advisory board and I would see her often, she would ask how my mom was doing and I would tell her she was good. What was so cool about your mom was that she would always greet you with a smile and make you feel welcomed.
She was a very kind person and really cared about her family and community. Again my deepest condolences.

Laura Tobias

March 24, 2021

I'll never forget the night Rita came over to take care of me and Rose when we were both sick with the flu. I had not asked her to do it, and I didn't even know she knew we were sick. She was a Godsend that night. There are many other memories I have of her, but suffice it to say that we had a connection and she was very kind to me, despite my being separated from her son. I will miss her presence in this world, and her sense of humor, too. My heartfelt condolences to Michael, Mary, Marjie, Matthew, Mark, Merit and Maxine and the rest of Rita's family.

Margaret Woodbeck

March 22, 2021

Mrs.Tobias(Rita) will be missed such a special lady mom and I remember watching her taking care of her beautiful flowers . And her smile was so contagious are prayers are with all of you. Margaret/Sally Woodbeck

Pamela Hines

March 20, 2021

Thank you Mrs. Tobias I will always remember and respect you. God bless you and your family.

Carol McNally

March 19, 2021

Although it has been years since I saw my Aunt Rita, I still remember the beautiful, loving and caring Aunt that she was and the good times we had at family gatherings. I know she is at peace with the lord and smiling down. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family all who knew and loved her. Love, Carol and Pete McNally.

larry webber

March 19, 2021

Matt when I heard the news of your mother's passing, my heart immediately felt for you and the loss you must be experiencing. Goodbyes aren't really goodbye. Goodbyes are really "I'll see you
later." May the Lord comfort you and your family and bring you peace as you mourn your great loss.

Kay Alexander

March 19, 2021

Miss Tobias Was A Beautiful Person, With A Gracious Heart. And Was Always There When You Needed Her. She Has Done So Much For A Lot Of People. I Am Very Grateful To Have Known Her. You Couldn’t Have Known A Better Person. My sympathy Goes Out To The Family, And I Am So Sorry For Your Loss.

-Kay Alexander

Tom & Maria Powley

March 19, 2021

Aunt Rita always had the brightest smile. Back in the early 60's we drove down to Hazel Park race course, and stayed until the last last race, when she said, "I don't like anything in this race, if we hurry we can make the 1st race at Detroit Race Course. When we got there, She rushed in bet some #'s and she hit the 1st race and the daily double. I don't think I cashed a ticket all day, but I remember she had a good day at DRC.
With LOVE, Tom & Maria Powley