6 April 2006 Edition

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Rita Foos

Rita Foos, nee O'Connor (68) who died of cancer at her home in Akron, Ohio on 11 March was a staunch supporter of the Irish struggle for independence.

An organiser of the Akron St Patrick's Day parade over the past 20 years, Rita died on the day this year's parade was to be held.

Bernadette O'Hagan from Lurgan, County Armagh was a close friend of Rita Foos and her husband Dick and spoke warmly of a woman who committed herself to the cause of Ireland.

Rita Foos was born in Marion, Ohio and moved to Akron in 1970. She was a member of the Women's Ancient Order of Hibernians and Irish Northern Aid and worked tirelessly for a united Ireland.

However it was her tireless work on behalf of Irish political prisoners that brought her to the fore of Irish Northern Aid activity in the United States, "she just got in there and got things done", said Pat Glenn of Akron, INA.

She loved Ireland and everything Irish, it's music, ceili dancing and went out of her way to learn the Irish language. Indeed Rita's wake was steeped in the Irish tradition with the casket, draped in the Irish national flag, being viewed at home. Many friends called to the house.

According to Bernadette O'Hagan a steady stream of neighbours came to the house where they were greeted with sandwiches, soup, scones, brown bread and of course generous helpings of Jameson whiskey and Irish traditional music being played in the background.

Her other great love was her dogs. She and her husband took stray dogs into their home and looked after them before they got them homes.

Speaking to An Phoblacht Bernadette O'Hagan described Rita Foos as a, "good and committed republican whose life's work was to bring about a United Ireland so that the Irish people could live in peace and prosperity".

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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