clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


Rita E. Fordham"Together Again"Rita Ennella Fordham died at home on December 5, 2013. Rita was born in Astoria, New York, as the youngest of nine children. She attended City College of New York and then worked in Idaho and Nevada. Rita was hired in 1957 as the administrative assistant to Daniel Dykstra, Dean of the College of Law at the University of Utah. She managed the Dean's office, maintained the law school's records, and supported a demanding faculty. During this time, she also befriended and helped numerous law students survive the rigors of law school. In the summer of 1963 she met Jefferson B. Fordham when he was a visiting Professor of Law at the University of Utah. Rita and Jeff were married on March 21, 1964 and they lived in Philadelphia while Jeff was Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In 1970 Rita and Jeff returned to Salt Lake City where Jeff began his 19-year tenure as Distinguished University Professor of Law at the University of Utah. Rita and Jeff enjoyed traveling and playing golf in Philadelphia, at the Salt Lake Country Club, at Pinehurst in North Carolina, and at the famed old course at St. Andrews, Scotland. For many summers, they explored the red rock canyons of southern Utah with close friends. Jeff died in 1994.Rita was preceded in death by her parents Giovanni and Maria Ennella; siblings Mary LaFiosca, Loretta Marziotto, Teresa Visconti, Rose Agneta, Mae Guarino, Marge Ragone, Jean Gamba, and John Ennella; husband Jeff; stepson Bob; and many other nephews and nieces. She is survived by stepson Bob Fordham's widow Barbara "Mickey" Fordham and their daughters Barbara Edwards and Rebecca Parker; stepson Bill Fordham, his wife Millie and their daughter Jennifer Humbertson; and many close nephews, nieces, and their families.Rita and Jeff endowed the annual Fordham Debate at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law and the College's Fordham Loan Forgiveness Program to help law school graduates employed in the public sector to repay their school loans. Rita also was a proud member of the University Women's Club.At her request, Rita's body was cremated and her ashes were interred with those of her husband. A requiem mass will be held at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, at 10:00 am at which time children from the Cathedral Choir School will sing. In lieu of flowers, remembrance gifts may be sent to the "S.J. Quinney College of Law" at the University of Utah, referenced for the Jefferson B. and Rita E. Fordham Loan Forgiveness Fund or the Fordham Debate Fund, 332 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0730. A celebration of Rita's life will be held at the law school and in Queens, New York, in the spring.The family wishes to thank the caregivers from Senior Helpers, especially Jessica Finlayson, who provided loving care to Rita that enabled her to live at home for the last months of her life.