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Rita N. Moretti, 76, a Niagara University education faculty member who was a Niagara Falls school principal for 30 years, died Wednesday (Nov. 27, 2002) in Newfane Inter-Community Memorial Hospital after a brief illness.

Born Rita Natale in Rochester, she graduated from Madison High School there. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Brockport State College, a master's degree in English literature from Niagara University, a master's degree in administration and supervision from Buffalo State College, and a doctorate in education from the University at Buffalo.

She moved to Niagara Falls in 1946, where her first job was as a teacher at Niagara Street School. She later served as vice principal at the Sugar Street School.

Her career as principal included 20 years at Geraldine J. Mann School and five years at Harry F. Abate School.

After retiring from the school district, Ms. Moretti worked for several years as executive director of the Niagara County Council of Girl Scouts.

In 1987, Ms. Moretti joined the faculty of the Niagara University College of Education and continued working there until two days before her death.

Ms. Moretti received the Dean's Faculty Award in 1997 for her service to students, and a resource room in O'Shea Hall was dedicated to her. She taught many elementary education courses, but her favorite was "Teaching Methods."

Ms. Moretti was a volunteer for several Niagara Falls community activities including the Festival of Lights, United Way of Niagara and the Girls Club of Niagara Falls, of which she was a founder.

In 1983, then-Mayor Michael O'Laughlin declared Oct. 21 "Dr. Rita N. Moretti Day" to recognize her contributions. Other honors came from the Human Rights Commission, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Board of Education, which named her Principal of the Year.

She was adopted into the Beaver Clan of the Tuscarora Indian Nation in honor of her work with Tuscarora children.

She is survived by a sister, Louise Meleca of Melbourne, Fla.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 1055 N. Military Road. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester.


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