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Rita M.'s Story

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Rita M. (Cukierski) Certo, 85, native of Niagara Falls, NY, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 25, 2016 in Lewiston, NY. The daughter of the late Jerry and Stella (Stawicki) Cukierski, Rita attended local schools, graduating from Niagara Falls High School in 1948. In that same year, Rita 'Sugar', as she was called, was crowned Miss Niagara for the city's centennial celebration.
Featured in many local and national publications, Rita was well-known for her beautiful smile, her fabulous earrings, and her fun-loving passion for life. She truly lived up to her nickname 'Sugar'. Rita worked for several businesses in the area including the Kimberly Clark Corporation and later, Cataract Restaurant and Bar Supply. In her single days, she enjoyed shopping and traveling with friends. In 1958, Rita married local attorney and future Chief City Court Judge Anthony J. Certo in a celebration with over 1000 guests. She and Anthony remained married for 54 years until his death in 2012.
In addition to being an exceptional home cook, Rita also enjoyed flower arranging and was a member of the Echo Society for many years. She became an avid golfer, often joining her husband, children and friends for social golf at Niagara Frontier Country Club. Rita played poker with friends and she and Anthony enjoyed a content and simple life of socializing, golfing, winters in Florida and watching their family thrive and grandchildren grow.
She is survived by three children, Karen Anne (Patrick Donovan) Certo, of Niagara Falls, a retired Pharmacist, Anthony P. Certo of Niagara Falls and Orlando, Florida, the retired CFO and current member of the Board of Directors of Certo Brothers Distributing Company, and Elizabeth (Tish) Certo of Hartsdale, NY, a retired LPGA tour player and current PGA golf professional at the Willow Ridge CC in Harrison, NY. Rita is also survived by three loving grandsons, Christopher J. Lofstrand II, controller at Certo Brothers, Peter A. Certo, a student at the University of Central Florida, and Michael J. Certo, a student at Hilbert College. Other survivors include first cousin, Florence (Hajski) Gustafson; sisters-in-law, Mary (Certo) Rolle, Elizabeth (Certo) Pfleger, Natalie (Bader) Certo; many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.
There will be no prior visitation. Private funeral services and interment at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Niagara Falls, NY will be held at the convenience of the family. Donations may be made in Rita's name to The Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club, 725 17th Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14301 or Niagara Hospice, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, NY 14094. Arrangements by M.J. COLUCCI & SON NIAGARA FUNERAL CHAPEL, 2730 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY.
Visit mjcoluccifuneralchapel.com for online guest register.
Published on April 26, 2016
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