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Rita O'Brian, substitute teacher and avid traveler May 29, 1926 -- May 29, 2012

Rita O'Brian of the Town of Tonawanda, a longtime substitute teacher, died Tuesday on her 86th birthday in the Schofield Residence in the town after a long illness.

A lifelong resident of Western New York, the former Rita Lawler was born in Buffalo. She was a 1944 graduate of Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart and a 1948 graduate of the former State Teachers College.

She worked as a substitute teacher in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda public schools for six decades, and was an active parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Kenmore for seven decades.

An avid traveler, Mrs. O'Brian visited all of the lower 48 states and more than 30 countries. A devout Catholic, she enjoyed visiting churches, shrines and other religious sites.

She was married for 37 years to William J. O'Brian Jr., who died in 1989.

She is survived by three sons, William J. III, Hugh and John; and a daughter, Ann Marie Dziedzic.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in St. John the Baptist Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Kenmore, preceded by prayers at 9 in C. Mertz and Son Funeral Home, 911 Englewood Ave., Kenmore.

[h/jones]