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By Lacey Gardner

Rita C. Gooch, 86, Allentown


Rita C. Gooch, 86, of Allentown, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, April 16, 2022 with her family by her side after a long illness. She was born October 5, 1935 in Buffalo, the daughter of the late John R. and Florence (Canton) McGee. On November 10, 1956 in St. Agnes Church of Buffalo she married her husband of 65 years, Clifford Eugene Gooch, who survives.

Rita was a 1953 graduate of Bishop Colton High School in Buffalo. She entered the work force, and was employed by Aetna Insurance as a secretary for a few years. In 1965 she and Cliff moved their family to Allentown, where they’ve lived ever since. They have created a warm, welcoming home for their children, grandchildren, and many visiting relatives and friends. Rita was a tireless advocate for children and education. She was a Girl Scout leader, a room mother at the Allentown school, and taught church school classes for the children of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Scio. She also proudly served on the Scio Central School Board for 20 years.

Rita was very active in the community as a dedicated member of multiple organization, such as Beta Sigma Phi sorority, the St. Joseph’s Altar and rosary Society, Immaculate Conception Church and the American Red Cross. As a charter member of the Wellsville Lioness Club; along side her husband Cliff (a Lion’s member) organized and participated in many events and activities. In 2008 she was awarded the Robert Uplinger Distinguished Service Award.

After her children had grown, Rita worked at the First Trust Bank in Wellsville, and co-ran a family catering business with Cliff for many years. She loved traveling, parties, dancing with her husband, golfing, walking, and dinners with friends at the Beef Haus. She was an excellent cook, whether it was for two or 200, and gladly made a spot at her table for anyone who stopped by. When she wasn’t busy serving her community, Rita loved spending time with her friends, family, and especially her grandchildren. She will forever be remembered as a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and a loyal friend whose warmth and wit could bring a smile to anyone’s face.

In addition to her husband, Cliff, she is survived by: four children, MaryBeth (John) Thompsett of Scio, Jeffrey (Elania) Gooch of Rochester, Lesley (Jon) Gooch-Christman of Wellsville, and Jennifer (David) Gooch-Johnston of Rochester; eight grandchildren, Emily (Lucas Jandrew) Thompsett, Hannah (Kevin Walsh) Thompsett, Abby (Justin Perrelli) Christman, Olivia [Stephen Hoffman]Christman, Ellyn Gooch, Graham Gooch, Noah Johnston, and Clay Johnston; and one great-grandson, Sonny Christman Perrelli; two brothers-in-law, Thomas (Pat) Wozniak and Hank Gath; two sisters-in-law, Shirley Reinig and Betty Windover; and many beloved nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by: three brothers, Robert (Eleanor), Thomas (Rose), and and Eugene McGee; four sisters, Nancy McGee, Margaret (Clarence) Kremer, Jane Gath, and Kathleen Wozniak.

Friends are invited to call on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 from 4 until 7 pm at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 11 am in the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church of Scio, NY. Burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to the David A. Howe Library or to the Community Action Angels at ACCORD or to the Ukranian Relief. To leave online condolences please visit 

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