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Rita Petlock

March 25, 2023


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Rita Petlock

March 25, 2023


On a rainy Saturday, March 25, 2023, Rita Petlock, a kind and generous soul went to be with her Lord.  She passed peacefully with her loving family surrounding her.  Rita witnessed her sons’ first breaths and they were honored and privileged to witness her last.

She was given the gift of life on August 31, 1929 and lived a long and full life.  She was the eldest daughter of John and Mary Bawiec.  She was a life-long resident of the Heights in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Rita worked in several garment factories where she learned her love of sewing and became an accomplished seamstress.  She later worked at the Boston Store and Boscov’s from which she retired.  She was a member of St. Joseph’s Slovak Church, Hillside Street, St. Ann’s Guild, St. Mary’s/St. Joseph’s Alter and Rosary Society, and most recently Our Lady of Hope Parish, Park Avenue.  Each and every morning she would spend time with her prayers and devotionals.  She never missed that precious time alone with God.

She married her husband, the late Joseph Petlock in 1950, a former Wilkes-Barre motorcycle patrolman, who passed away in 1995.  Together they had four sons.

While working at the Boston Store she was asked to be a fashion model for their clothing.  She was tall and slender and the perfect model.  This was especially fun for her as she was asked to model “Mother of the Bride” outfits—something she never got to be!

Rita loved her large family and she loved making things for them.  No one felt the cold because she made each and every one a crocheted afghan.  In recent years she crocheted hundreds of hats for hospitalized patients.  If you had a hem to be fixed or a costume to be made or a button be sewed on, you took it to Rita.  She even made a wedding dress for her daughter-in-law, which was a huge undertaking.  She loved to do things with her hands, because she “had to keep busy”.  And keep busy she did.  She loved to bake her famous apple cakes and if you were liked well enough, you were the recipient of one.  She made soup, “piggies”, chili sauce and her most sought-after delicacy, perogies.  She was a generous woman who loved to make people happy with her “gifts”.  And that she did.  For that and for so many other reasons her absence will forever leave a hole in our hearts.

Rita is survived by her sons, John (Lynn), of Sugar Run, Thomas (Jan), of Larksville, Matthew (Nancy) of Mountaintop, her daughter-in-law, Melanie of Altoona Pa.  Her grandchildren, Christopher, Brian, Mercedes, Tara, Joseph, Jason, Adam, Joshua, Rachel, Juli, Kati, Thomas, Paige and two step grandchildren, Nicole and Jordan.  She had 25 great-grandchildren with one on the way; one great-great grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.

Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by her son, Joseph M. Petlock in 2018; her sister Catherine Poplaski; brothers and sister -in- law, John Bawiec and Joseph (Ann) Bawiec; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Elmer and Margaret Petlock, Carl Petlock, and Margaret (Peggy) Petlock.

Her family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Fresenius Kidney Care Center in Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County Share-a Ride for their kind care of Rita over the past five plus years.

A celebration of Rita’s life will begin with a visitation on Friday from 9 – 10:30 am at the Nat & Gawlas Funeral Home, 89 Park Avenue, Wilkes-Barre, with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11 am in Our Lady of Hope Parish, 40 Park Avenue, Wilkes-Barre.

Interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hanover Township.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rita’s memory to Our Lady of Hope Parish, 40 Park Avenue, Wilkes-Barre, PA  18702

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