In Memory

Rita Palmieri

Rita Palmieri

Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - February 6, 2005
Deceased Name: Obituary: Rita Paola Palmieri Elkins
Rita Elkins 1950 ~ 2005 Rita Paola Palmieri Elkins, 54 passed away peacefully Friday, February 4, 2005. Rita was born in Florence, Italy March 16, 1950 to Josephine Frances Lupo and Dr. Antonio Fulvio Palmieri. She personified the characteristics of the city in which she was born - beauty, art, grace, and inspiration. In 1953 Rita immigrated to the United States with her father, mother, and young sister on the Italian ocean liner, The Conte Biancamano. She resided in Arlington and Richmond, Virginia, throughout her childhood where she developed her talents in painting and writing, and her love for the arts. At the age of 18 Rita became a true pioneer for her Italian Catholic family when she moved west to attend Brigham Young University. It was there that she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Upon returning to Virginia she paved the way for her mother and sister to also be baptized by inviting the missionaries to their home. One of these young elders, Robert Scott Elkins, was to become Rita's future husband. Rita and Scott were sealed December 17, 1971 in the Salt Lake Temple. They made their home in Orem, Utah where they became the parents of two beautiful daughters, Tanya Michelle, and Taryn Melissa. When her children became older, Rita returned to Brigham Young University to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design and later a Master's degree in Art History. Rita went on to teach in the Art History Department and served as president of the Art History Association at BYU. She soon became a favorite professor among students. Oftentimes, students took Rita's class just to fill a requirement, but were so inspired by her passion for the subject that they later went on to major in Art History. Her quick wit, intellect, and sense of humor brought the subject matter to life for all who attended her class. Throughout her life, Rita held many callings within the church. Whether it be serving as Relief Society president, gospel teacher, or Young Women advisor, Rita brought to all of her church callings a love and dedication that truly made a difference in the lives of those she served. She had an incredible gift for teaching gospel principles because of her ability to relate to everyone. Rita had a particular interest for reading and reporting on health-related subjects. She became a well-known author in the natural health field, publishing dozens of titles, one of which received the honor of Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year. Rita had a rare strength about her that radiated to everyone who knew her. She was known for Italian cooking, Christmas mornings, innovative Halloween costumes, extraordinary camp cooking, a passion for politics and patriotism, treasure hunts at thrift stores, gardening, spoiling grandkids, and impeccable taste and style. Most of all, Rita's greatest love was spending time with her family, especially her two granddaughters, Taylor Michelle and McKenna Josephine Gardner. Rita will be missed by her husband, Scott; daughters, Tanya (Jon) Keller, Taryn (Brian) Gardner; granddaughters, McKenna and Taylor; sister, Bianca (David) Lisonbee; mother-in-law, Gladys Elkins. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Josephine and Antonio Palmieri; and her father-in-law, Col. Robert Elkins. Ti volgliamo bene, Rita. Sempre famiglia! Funeral services will be held Tuesday February 8, 2005, at 11 a.m. in the Orem East Stake Center, 810 East 600 North, Orem. Family and friends may call Tuesday at the stake center from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Interment will be in the Orem Cemetery.

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05/22/09 03:02 PM #1    

Corky Oliver


You are missed by those of us who knew you and thought of you over the past years. We remember your humor, common sense and positive outlook on life regardless of the situation.


Corkey Oliver

07/08/09 03:28 PM #2    

Lee Hicks (Chancey)

Most class members never knew that you, Pat Heffernan and I had all gone to elementry school together at St. Bridget's. You were smart and funny in class, but in church incense made you faint, so every time we went to First Friday mass...there'd suddenly be this commotion in the back of the girls' section and everyone would go, "There goes Rita again." And sure enough, they'd carry you out and lay you under the shade of a cool tree. This looked very appealing to me, and I considered trying to pass out on my own to get out of the long service. Still, it's just one of those funny memories I have of you that endears you to my heart, though we were not close in high school.

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