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Rita Petersen Obituary

Rita Reyes Petersen
Rita Reyes Petersen

December 2, 1957 - April 19, 2020
Born in Heidelberg, Germany
Resided in Salinas, California
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Rita Reyes Petersen, 62, of Salinas CA passed away on April 19th, 2020 after a long illness.

Rita was born on December 2, 1957 to Roy and Marianne Reyes in Heidelberg Germany. She moved to California in 1967, when her father, the late Sergeant Major Roy C. Reyes, was transferred to Fort Ord. Her family moved to Salinas in 1969. and she graduated from North Salinas High School in 1975, before going on to study at Hartnell College.

After graduation, Rita went to work for Federal Express (now FedEx) in Sacramento CA. She was later transferred to Chicago IL, and eventually Monterey CA where she retired in 1998.

In 1994 she met Ken Petersen and they wed in 1996. Rita gave birth to her only daughter McKenna in 1998.

Rita was named the “Maid of Monterey” and represented Monterey County in the 1976 Maid of California State finals, and in the 1977 Miss California Universe pageant. Out of 50 contestants, Rita placed in the top 16 finalists. Rita was passionate about fitness training and would participate in aerobics and roller blading as often as she could. She loved animals and frequently volunteered at the SPCA. She also was a home visitor volunteer for the Hospice, and loved her service as a 20-year volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She always had a camera in hand to capture memories of her travels and of her family. She loved to explore across the country and visit her relatives in Germany. She was her father’s “sweetheart” and they held the tradition of watching football every Sunday together, cheering on the Raiders and Bears.

Rita was predeceased by her father Roy C. Reyes and is survived by her mother Marianne, her husband Ken, daughter McKenna, and brothers, Robert and Michael.

A memorial service for family and close friends will be held at a later date..




Funeral Home
Struve and Laporte Funeral Home
41 West San Luis Street
Salinas, CA US 93901