Rita R. (LaCourse) Safford

Born: Sun., Sep. 27, 1931
Died: Mon., Jul. 7, 2014

Private Interment

Lunch Following Service


9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Fri., Jul. 11, 2014
Location: Burns Mortuary

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Sat., Jul. 12, 2014
Location: Mission Assembly of God Church

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Rita R. Safford

Sept. 27, 1931 – July 7, 2014


Rita R, Safford, 82, of Pendleton, Oregon went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on July the 7th, 2014, at Oregon Health & Science University, following a sudden and brief illness. Rita was born on September 27, 1931, in Walla Walla, Washington and was an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. She grew up near Pendleton, on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, attending St. Andrew’s School as well as St. Joseph’s Academy.

She married the love of her life, Wayne “Blackie” Safford in Reno, Nevada. They raised their two daughters, Julie and Susan, for a brief time in Oregon City, then moved to Pendleton. Her husband passed away in 1996 and she never remarried.

Rita was a long time member of Pendleton First Assembly of God Church, attending faithfully, along with her entire family. She served for many years there as a greeter, welcoming people as they entered the church.

She had a driving passion to visit the sick and elderly in nursing homes and also in their own homes. The sincerest desire of her heart was for everyone to know just how much God loves them. She never missed an opportunity to ask someone if they knew Jesus and if they did not, she would always find a way to show them their need for Him in their life.

In more recent years, she was very instrumental in the founding of the Mission Assembly of God Church, where she was an active member until the time of her death. She served as an Elder Advisor and in many other areas as needed. In the words of her pastor, Rita “was everything to this church.”

She served a short term on the Health Commission for Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center. She also enjoyed the years she volunteered at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and meal site.

Next to her faith, her family was most important in her life.

Rita is survived by her daughters Julie (Mike) Jones, Susan (Rob) Johnson, all of Pendleton;

Sister Lora Lee (J.C.) Penney, Pendleton; three granddaughters: Brandy (Shawn) Bird and Holly (Josh) Cyganik, both of Pendleton, and Rachel Ellner of North Hollywood, CA; five great grandchildren: Sierra Bryant, Glae Bird, Parker Smith, Jayden Bryant, and Carson Cyganik, all of Pendleton.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne “Blackie” Safford; her parents, William and Maude LaCourse; twin sister, Nita Johnson; sister, Florence Carden; brothers, Delbert “Del” and Eldon “Boots” LaCourse.

A service will be held on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mission Assembly of God Church. Those who wish, may make contributions, on Rita’s behalf, to The American Indian Bible College at: 10020 N. 15th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85021.  A public viewing will be held on Friday, July 11, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Please sign the condolence book at burnsmortuary.com

Burns Mortuary of Pendleton, Oregon is in charge of arrangements.

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Condolence Booklet

Judy LeGore
   Posted Wed July 09, 2014
To all the family of Rita Safford. With deepest sympathy are sent with hope that, as time goes by, cherished memories will bring you all inner peace and make your loved one seem still very close to you. Let the memories that mean the most to you all live forever in you heart. Julie and Susan will always think of your mom saying to me that she was glad she new my mom and that they would talk about the LORD.

HollyJo Beers
   Posted Wed July 09, 2014
To the Family and Friends of Rita:
I have never met a more beautiful woman, inside and out, nor a more wonderful Christian than Rita Safford. She was the most kind, giving, loving person I have ever had the privilege of calling my friend. Her strong Christian faith and strength gave me so much hope! She was a prayer warrior, always willing to pray for anyone if asked. I admired her greatly and will miss her always. Rita was one of a kind. The world has lost a wonderful lady and a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I look forward to seeing her again in heaven. God Bless you all.

Steve/Nancy Green
   Posted Wed July 09, 2014
One of the rare souls to leave this earth a better place for having been here. Rita was a genuinely wise, kind and gentle soul who will long be remembered by the many she touched.

Averyal Thomas
   Posted Wed July 09, 2014
My deepest sympathy to Rita's family , I have never knew such a wonderful ladyas Rita I have known her for years from the Salvation Army Thrift store not only as an employee but a dear sweet friend of mine! She always treated me with the ut most respect ! And great compassion! The dearest sweetest lady I've ever known, I will truly miss this Beautiful Lady I thank God for bringing her into my life ! God bless you all! R.I.p. Beautiful Lady!

Lana holcomb
   Posted Wed July 09, 2014
We had to honor of being Rita's friends and for a few years neighbors, she will be loved and missed by so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family,

anje stahl
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
Rita was the most beautiful kind hearted woman that I will never forget!

Kevin & Teresa Parker
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
Our heart and prayers are with all of you. Rita was an incredible mother and grandmother and an amazing women of faith, which is evidenced in the lives of her family. She has left a legacy of love, faith and kindness that will have lasting effects on your family for generations to come. We are sorry we cannot be there for the service, but will be thinking of you all and praying for you all through the next days and months ahead.

Barb Hoffman
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
To the family and freinds of Rita, Chuck and I send our thoughts and prayers at this time. She was a wonderful and thoughtful Lady.

Holly Anderson
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
Susan and family -- I'm so sorry for your sudden loss. I know you will miss your Mom greatly.

Renee Parr
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
"Winter comes to my heart now at this time of sorrow." A'ho
Sincerest condolences to the family.

Cherie McClain
   Posted Thu July 10, 2014
She had a beautiful and great heart she loved everyone who came across her path in life ... i thank god for the time I had to get to know.. love you Rita my you be at peace

Donna and Gary Ball of Heppner, Oregon
   Posted Fri July 11, 2014
All I can say is many years ago, My mom passed away at 49 with cancer. She left two teenage sisters for Gary and I to take care of. My sister Teri had a bad drinking problem. We started AA through the first Assembly in Pendleton with Vern Kube ... We met Rita and Blackie. They made such a impact on our life. She was a special lady and so happy we can say we knew her. God bless...

Becky Sanford-Craft
   Posted Fri July 11, 2014
Sending prayers and blessings to Rita's family. I met Rita a very long time ago at Great Grandma Maude's house.Very Soft-hearted and sweet woman. My dad -Dick Parr is her nephew. God Bless. Becky

Tia Gentner
   Posted Fri July 11, 2014
Holly, Susan and the entire family...I'm so sorry for your loss. Rita was an amazing woman and I'm lucky I had the chance to know her. She will be greatly missed by all! Hugs and prayers......

Deborah Hayward
   Posted Fri July 11, 2014
Susan and Rob, family of Rita Safford - sending my deepest condolences to all of you, reading the words of love and praise for Rita certainly makes me wish I would have known her, God certainly must have needed another angel in heaven to have called her so suddenly. Thinking of you and sending love and hugs....

marilyn hammersla
   Posted Fri July 11, 2014
to the Safford family
Rita was always a delight to see she would always say "how are you girl? i looked for her when i went to yard sales and salvation army, thats where we'd visit, she was always concerned how i was, never herself, i really really miss her and her smiling face but i know shes in a wonderful place, probably taking care of everyone, may the lord be with her family love marilyn parker hammersla

Vicki/ Cheryl Stillman.
   Posted Sat July 12, 2014
Rita smile, and her friendliness to everybody will be sorely missed. Our prayers are with her family.

Robert and Johanne Moore
   Posted Sat July 12, 2014
Our condolences to Julie and her family on the loss of a special mom.

Mary & Keith Harris
   Posted Sat July 12, 2014
Julie & Mike: So sorry to hear of your mom's passing. Just keep those fond memories close to your mind and heart - and she will always be with you. Deepest sympathy!!

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