Rock Funeral Home


Rita Sylvia

February 5, 1932March 28, 2021

Rita (Couto) Sylvia of New Bedford, MA passed away peacefully at Alden Court in Fairhaven on Sunday, March 28, 2021, at 89 years of age.

Born in New Bedford on February 5, 1932 she was the daughter of late Veriato (Joe) Couto and Mary C. (Martin) Couto Maher. Rita lived in New Bedford all her life and loved the city and its people.

Rita was married to the late police lieutenant Jack Sylvia, who was the love of her life. Rita lived a life of exuberant joy and deep compassion for those around her. She worked at Bristol County Blueprint Co. before her retirement and loved to cook, read, and spend time with her grandchildren and friends in her free time. She possessed a multitude of talents, including drawing, sewing, singing, and dancing. Rita also loved the Patriots, traveling, and watching plays. She offered her time volunteering at different organizations in New Bedford, including St. Luke’s Hospital, United Way of New Bedford, The New Bedford Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown New Bedford Inc. Most importantly, Rita was devoted to her Catholic faith, and had deep love for the Lord. She prayed each day for her family and loved ones without ceasing. She measured her success in life by the positive impact she was able to make in the lives of others, and will be remembered for her incredible humor, and unconditional love and kindness toward others.

Rita spent the last months of her life living with her daughter Mary and fiancé Peter, and her granddaughters Brooke and Casey. They enjoyed joyous and precious time together under one roof before Rita became suddenly ill and passed soon after.

Rita is survived by her sister Dolores Leal and brother-in-law James Leal, her late brother Edward Couto and sister-in-law Eileen Couto, daughter Mary J. Douglass, her late husband Kenneth A. Douglass and her fiancé Peter Trahan, her son Jack Sylvia and his wife Karen Sylvia, four granddaughters, two great-granddaughters, and several nieces and nephews.

Her Funeral Service will be held on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 11:00 AM in the ROCK FUNERAL HOME, 1285 Ashley Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02745 followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Mary’s Church, Tarkiln Hill Rd, New Bedford, MA 02745. Relatives and friends are invited. Visitation will be Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00PM. Burial will be PRIVATE. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Rita’s honor may be made to: St. Jude Hospital 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105 USA / To leave a note of condolence:


  • Visitation

    Thursday, April 8, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Friday, April 9, 2021

  • Burial

    Friday, April 9, 2021


Rita Sylvia

have a memory or condolence to add?

Chuck Morris

April 8, 2021

Mary Jo & Jack, so sorry to learn of your mom's passing, just know she is with her two loves your dad and JESUS, my prayers for both your families.

Nancy Fusaro (Maxemino)

April 8, 2021

Dear Mary & Family,
Your mother’s kindness was contagious and her memory will live on forever. I can picture her cheering us on at every cheerleading competion. There is no one in this world like your mother. She was a special woman and she will be with you always.

Nancy Fusaro

Jane Dube

April 7, 2021

I’m extending heartfelt condolences to Rita’s family and loved ones on behalf of my Mom, Jane Dube. Mrs. Sylvia was always such a blessing to visit, eager to share a joke or two. She could turn clouds into sunshine. She will be remembered for her easy spirit, kind heart and bubbly personality. May she find eternal happiness. Mrs. Jane Dube

Jenna Sylvia

April 6, 2021

Rita was such a beautiful person. I am blessed to say I was able to care for her when she first arrived at Alden court. Once she was discharged her first time we stayed in contact and would write letters back and forth to each other. I will always hold Rita close to my heart and cherish the wonderful talks we had, laughs we shared and the smile she always put on my face. I love you Rita and you’re in a much better place now.❤️

Linda Dugas

April 6, 2021

We‘ve been neighbors for more than 40 years. I always loved chatting and sharing news with Rita . She was always such a positive and loving person with such a special sense of humor. I’ll always remember her in her pink checked blouse climbing a ladder to trim her shrubs.. .. always made the sign of the cross first.
She will be very much missed and always lovingly remembered. Deepest sympathy to Mary and Jackie from the Dugas Family

Michelle Drew (Tisdelle)

April 6, 2021

Dear Mary and family,
I am so sorry for your loss of your mom. She was a wonderful woman! Thinking of you at this time...
Love, Michelle

Denise Levasseur

April 5, 2021

She will always be Aunty Rita, a great friend to mom and forever in our hearts. Love you!!

Connie and Denise Levasseur

Sue Whitney

April 1, 2021

She was a blessing to many. She forever touched my heart in so many ways. I will forever miss our chats, but will be eternally grateful for the memories. I love you, Mrs. Sylvia.🌹🌹🌹

Sue Whitney

Susan Desnoyers

April 1, 2021

No friend or neighbor will ever replace Rita. She certainly is with the Lord and her beloved Jack. We will miss her greatly.