We’ve Moved! 400 Hammond Road West

Rita Gillis

January 10, 1943 - January 13, 2020
Traverse City, MI



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Grand Traverse Pavilions Foundation
1000 Pavilions Circle
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 932-3000

Designate scholarship fund.

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Life Story / Obituary


Rita Elizabeth Gillis, 77, of Traverse City, formerly of Bay City, died Monday, January 13, 2020.

She was born on January 10, 1943 in Bay City, the daughter of Harold and Catherine (Moore) Dumeah.

Rita graduated in 1961 from Visitation High School in Bay City. Rita then went on to graduate from Madonna College to be a nun, but ultimately left fulfilling her number one accomplishment in life, becoming a mother. She attended St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Bay City. Rita enjoyed volunteering and was active in the Altar Society and taught Sunday school.

She moved to Traverse City in 2001 to be closer to her son, Keith. She was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where she continued practicing her catholic faith.

Rita loved spending time with her family, especially her son Keith. Where ever you found Keith working on a project, you could always find Rita close by helping out. She was very active in the lives of her grandchildren, Rachel and Jacob from the time they were born and into adulthood. Rita never missed a moment of her grandchildren’s lives, whether it be taking them to Caro park, coming to “play” everyday as she babysat them, or attending their graduations from the Michigan State Police Academy, she was always a proud grandmother. She enjoyed watching her grandchildren play hockey and race motor cross. Family gatherings were very important to Rita. She was well known by her nieces and nephews for her tasty snacks, being creative in the kitchen and filling everyone’s belly. Rita enjoyed all types of craft making and was a wonderful woodworker. She loved to cross stitch, paint, and build bird houses.

Rita had a great personality that wouldn’t quit. She was feisty, sassy and would do anything for her family. Rita was loved by all who knew her and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Rita is survived by her son, Keith Gillis; grandchildren, Rachel (Michael) Olesen, and Jacob Gillis and sister, Deb (Bert Vaughan) Schultz. Rita was excited for her twin great-grandchildren to be born this summer.

She is preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Harold Knaggs, Sharon McCarthy and Bonnie Zielinski.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Grand Traverse Pavilions Foundation, designate scholarship fund.

Visitation will be held from 12 noon to 3 pm, Friday, January 17, 2020 at Life Story Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at 3pm with Rev. Anthony Citro officiating.

Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to sign the guestbook, share your thoughts with the family and more.