A Voice from the Eastern Door

Rita Oakes Arbour

Akwesasne: Rita Oakes Arbour, 86, of Wade LaFrance Road, passed away on July 3, 2023 at Cornwall Community Hospital.

Rita was born on October 27, 1936 in Hogansburg, the daughter of the late Mitchell and Theresa (Phillips) Oakes.

Rita was born during the Great Depression and worked hard in her early childhood helping her parents with crops. She went to Snye School and later attended Residential School in Montreal. Upon leaving the school, she worked with the Government of Canada in Immigration, Indian Affairs and AeroSpace retiring after 35 years. Rita married Gerald Arbour on July 21, 1957.

Rita was a great mother for her children and many others and had love for all children. She always had a smile and loved to laugh. Rita was a humble Mohawk Woman who made baskets and quilts at Home Makers that went all over the world. Rita could speak four languages with Mohawk being her mother tongue.

Her greatest achievement was her children whom she loved and adored very much. She was a protective mother and friend and her joy was Keenan and her late son in law, Jacob Cook Jr as her own son and friend.

Rita loved Racing her horses Gypsy Rose and Rita's Deal and at times they were winners. She liked to play bingo and do crossword puzzles as well as knit and sew for family. Rita was a good daughter and sister who helped her mother, father and family. She adored and loved her extended family (Sunday) boys and girls, her nieces and nephews, her God brother, Jim Sunday, and her God son, Bart Oddo.

Rita enjoyed her chosen daughter Holly Borynec in their many adventures and memories and good stories that made you laugh and cry with many friends from Ottawa. As she grew older, Rita lost many friends from childhood to adulthood. Rita will be greatly missed for her wisdom, faithfulness, honesty, laughter and pranks, especially on Halloween. She loved her people, her life and enjoyed her journey through the thick and thin clouds. She was a strong woman in determination and strength and was resilient with lots of love for everyone. She hopes she instilled this with her children and will be missed deeply. May she fly in the angels. Until we meet again, In her love for Jesus Christ.

Rita is survived by her children, Donna Cook of Tsi Snaihne, and Paul (Margaret) Arbour of Ottawa; chosen children, Holly Borynec and Jessica Lazore; a grandson, Jerimiah Lazore; chosen grandchildren, Brandon Borynec, Kaniontonkwas Lazore, Tessa Lazore, Keenan David and Taylor Cook; a sister, Gladys (John) White of Akwesasne.

She was predeceased by her husband Gerald; a brother, Thomas Oakes and his wife, Elizabeth, a sister, Veronica Cook and her husband Frank and a son in law, Jacob Cook Jr.

Friends and family called on Monday, July 10, 2023 from 11:00 AM until time of service at 5:00 PM at the Donaldson Funeral Home in Massena.

Arrangements are under the care of the Donaldson Funeral Home in Massena where memories and condolences may be shared online with the family at www.donaldsonfh.com


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