Rita DePetris Vallis, age 97, notable opera singer and cherished vocal teacher, passed away on November 27, 2023 in Jensen Beach, FL. She was the daughter of William and Ernesta (nee Condello) DePetris.
Rita was born May 14, 1926, in Chestnut Hill, Pa., and began singing in high school. She took voice and piano lessons and went on to study at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia for three years before moving to New York City where she lived for fifteen years. She enjoyed appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and T.V. Spectaculars. She thrilled the audience at Radio City Music Hall for special Christmas and Easter shows. She studied with Giuseppe Pais, conductor of the Milan Opera Company, Italy. While studying with Pais, she performed concerts and opera throughout Europe.
Rita lived in Bermuda with her beloved husband Micka for some time with a later move to Medford NJ where she resided until moving to Florida.
She came to Martin County in 1980 and dedicated herself to teaching many young, aspiring talents who lovingly addressed her as “Maestra.” She was awarded the Lawrence A. Sanders Foundation Lifetime Achievement in the Arts by the Arts Council of Martin County and was an Honorary Member of Treasure Coast Music Teachers Association.
Rita was a long-time member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Her faith played an important part in her life, and she thanked God often for the gift of her voice which allowed her to sing opera in her later years.
She was pre-deceased by her husband Michael (Micka) Vallis, and siblings Michael DePetris, Mary Kelly, Joseph DePetris and Theresa McGowan.
Survivors include multiple nieces, nephews and extended families of her pre-deceased siblings.
Rita was a loving person with a beautiful voice who will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
The viewing will be held from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. on Monday, December 11th at Aycock Funeral Home, 950 NE Jensen Beach Blvd, Jensen Beach, FL.
A funeral mass will take place at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1200 SE 10th St, Stuart, FL on Monday, December 11th at 10 a.m. and she will be laid to rest at Fernhill Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in Stuart.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship Foundation, PO. Box 1861, Horsham, PA 19044 or a charity of your choice in honor of her memory.
Memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.aycock-jensenbeach.com.