OBITUARY

Rita Virginia (Rogers) Bulford

September 2, 1921October 17, 2020

Waterford and Salem — After a 99-year lifetime of caring for others, Rita Virginia (Rogers) Bulford is at peace. A World War II Navy Nurse, public health nurse, school nurse and teacher of disabled children, she always put others first. Her fierce, independent spirit is living on in her three children, eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She lived on her own well into her 90s, driving, constantly reading, swimming laps at her beloved Waterford Beach, and volunteering.

A resident of Waterford for over 60 years, Rita passed away Oct. 17, 2020, at Bride Brook Health and Rehabilitation in East Lyme where she had lived after suffering from a stroke in September 2019. For the five years prior, Rita had lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Virginia (Bulford) and Victor Vesnaver in Salem.

Rita was born Sept. 2, 1921, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada to John Joseph and Effie May (Coish) Rogers. Immigrating to the U.S. as an infant with her parents, Rita spent her formative years in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, N.Y. graduating from John Jay High School in 1939. She completed nurse’s training at Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home and Hospital and joined the Navy in October 1943. Rita was stationed throughout the U.S., Guam, and briefly in China. She left active duty in October 1946, having attained the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) and remained in the Naval Reserve until 1953.

After the war, Rita completed her Bachelor of Arts at Columbia University Teachers College in New York, graduating in June of 1949. While attending Columbia she would often visit her parents who had moved to Norwich where she met her future husband, Robert Edgar Bulford. They were married in May of 1949, settled in Norwich, and moved to Waterford in 1951, where they raised their three children. Rita and Bob had a loving 40-year marriage ending with his death in 1989. Together they enjoyed boating and camping and were active in the U.S. Power Squadron, the Waterford Historical Society and the Waterford Lions Club.

While raising their children, Rita continued with her education and career, earning a Master of Arts by commuting to Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. She worked first as a public health nurse and then, throughout the Waterford School System as school nurse, social worker and teacher of disabled children. After retiring in 1988, Rita turned her caregiving nature to help friends and family whenever needed. She enjoyed volunteering with the Friends of Harkness, The Garde Arts Center, the Second Congregational Church in New London and the Waterford Republican Women’s Club. She was also a member of the American Association of University Women.

Rita is survived by her children, Jane (James) DePasque of Old Saybrook, Robert E. Bulford Jr. (Patricia Ritzert) of Akron, Ohio, and Virginia (Victor) Vesnaver of Salem; her eleven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband; her parents; her stepfather William Pottle; and her siblings, John H. Rogers and Phyllis Hart.

Rita’s loved ones would like to thank the staff at Bride Brook for their unwavering and compassionate care throughout her stay.

The family will celebrate Rita’s life at a future date filled with sun and salt water.

A tribute webpage at www.fultontherouxniantic.com has been established to view photos, share fond memories, and express condolences.

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Rita Virginia (Rogers) Bulford

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Joan Hart Weigle

November 23, 2020

I always counted Rita as family because she was my sister in law's sister. We had many happy times together at Harrison's Landing and in visits to her home on River Road. She had an exuberant and up beat personality. My sympathy and love to the whole family. Joan

Nancy O'Sullivan

November 19, 2020

Jane, Bobby, and Ginnie,
Thanks for the wonderful photos that were in the newspaper of you Mom. How fortunate when she moved to Third Avenue and she and my mother became buddies while being so active in the community. They especially showed their determination and fortitude over the years by getting up and going to those early morning swim sessions at Waterford High, as well as their evening duties at The Garde. I fondly remember your Mom being so cheerful and positive whenever I saw her. May she rest in peace.

Kristin LaFemina

November 18, 2020

Remembering Rita <3 I thought I heard all of her stories during our yard and porch visits but wow what a wonderful life of adventure and family and friends and activities!! Im so happy to have been a small part of Rita's life and lucky to have her as a small part of mine. Thank you to the V's and family for sharing your Rita with me! A few tears and lots of smiles looking at these family treasures!! Will miss you Rita <3 your neighbor and friend ... Kristin

Stephen DePasque

November 15, 2020

October 2019 with grandson Stephen

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1920s Rita with younger sister Phyllis

FROM THE FAMILY

1939 Rita graduates from High School

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s Rita trains to become a nurse

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s Rita with her father, John Joseph Rogers

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s fishing!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1920s Rita with younger sister Phyllis

FROM THE FAMILY

1939 Rita graduates from High School

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s Rita trains to become a nurse

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s Rita with her father, John Joseph Rogers

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s fishing!

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s Rita on the left with her sister, Phyllis, on the far right

FROM THE FAMILY

Early 1940s always by the sea!

FROM THE FAMILY

1943 Rita completes nurse's training

FROM THE FAMILY

Rita serves in the Navy 1943 to 1946

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