A popular resident of Coronado for 50 years, Rita Wack, was born Sept. 1, 1933 in Decatur, Illinois. Rita’s father was the local milkman and she sometimes rode along with him in his horse and cart on his regular rounds. Rita was often in the company of her cousins who introduced her to her life-long loves of tennis and jazz music. She graduated from Decatur High School in 1951 and went to Millikin University where she majored in French and English (German minor) and graduated in 1955.
Rita had a scholarship to study in Munich, Germany which she did not take up as she met her first husband, Charles Wack and they married in 1955. During these years, Charles trained as a navy pilot and the couple moved throughout the country, ending up at last in Coronado where Rita lived from 1969 until her death on Feb. 28, 2020.
Rita and Charles had five children: Casey, Andy, Amy, Laurie and Bryan. When her youngest child began school, Rita was able to start working again and taught English, wrote articles for the local paper and also took up photography and has some beautiful pictures that she took of her children when they were small.
During the years when the children were young, Charles Wack spent much of the year deployed in the South China Sea flying dangerous missions as part of the Vietnam War effort. Rita held the home front and also managed to carve a career for herself in real estate. Her love of tennis allowed her to make friends wherever they were stationed.
After the move to Coronado, Rita initially worked for Lee Mather real estate agents based on Orange Avenue. She eventually went solo and had her own office and was President of the Coronado Board of Realtors in 1981. Seeing how property disputes were often solved by lawyers, Rita was then inspired to go to Western State Law School in her 40s. She enjoyed the intellectual challenge hugely and worked for many years as an Attorney in Coronado with a speciality in Estate Planning. During these years she was also President of the Tennis Association. Sadly, Rita and Charles divorced during this time. Very sadly, their daughter Laurie was killed in a car accident in 1983.
A life-long tennis player, Rita was a member of the Hotel Del Beach and Tennis Club for some 28 years. On the tennis courts Rita met who she describes as the ‘love of her life,’ long-time Coronado resident Ezra Parker, an appraiser and architect, a tall man of distinguished bearing and sensitive temperament. Rita and Ezra travelled the world together, worked on a building project in the Borrego Desert, and would often go to the beach by the Shores for a spot of bodysurfing in the late afternoon; afterwards they would divide a small ‘split’ of champagne.
They had a great time decorating the Coronado house they bought together. They were together for 24 years until Ezra Parker died in 2003. Rita eventually retired from her law practice and a painful spinal condition forced her to give up tennis. Her final years were still dedicated to the care of others until she herself needed care. In later life she relied on a team of dedicated caregivers, and family based in Coronado.
Rita is survived by her four children; five grandchildren; and her sister Joan of South Bend, Indiana. A service for Rita is planned for April 18 at Sacred Heart Church, 655 C Avenue, but may be re-scheduled due to virus concerns.