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Rita E. Withey, 68, a retired elementary school teacher and former Buffalo resident, died May 2, 2003, in North Fort Myers, Fla., after a short illness.

Born Rita Sweeney, she lived most of her life in Buffalo, moving to Florida in 1997. She was an elementary school teacher who taught in Buffalo's School 69 from 1959 to 1969. She also taught at Eest Seneca No. 5 and Alexander Street School in Cheektowaga, as well as a number of Catholic schools in the 1950s, including St. William's and St. Bridget's.

She attended Mount Mercy Academy before going on to D'Youville College, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1957, and a master's degree in education from the University at Buffalo in 1961.

Mrs. Withey was a member of the Buffalo Teachers Federation. She enjoyed music and reading.

She was married to Farley E., who died in 1994.

She is survived by a brother, James P. Sweeney Jr. of Buffalo.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Ambrose Church, 65 Ridgewood Road, Buffalo. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.

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