COOLIDGE — Rita (Yon) Bustamante, 97, died peacefully on May 21, 2021, surrounded by her immediate family.

Mrs. Bustamante was born on May 23, 1923, in “El Tren,” Sonora, Mexico. Her husband brought her to Coolidge in 1949. She did seamstress work for several families and businesses through the 1950s and '60s. She was a natural entrepreneur, establishing a thriving business, “Yon’s Tortillas,” selling in Florence, Coolidge and Casa Grande.

She loved to sing and write poems. She often sang songs from her childhood from memory and loved live music. Her children held yearly themed birthday parties into her 90s. She loved having so many people gathered around her and loved to visit with her closest friends who traveled far to celebrate her special day. She had a pure zest for life and always had her bags packed, ready for any trip or opportunity to travel. She visited several different countries, including Ecuador, Canada, Puerto Rico and Bahamas. She loved being around people and living life to the fullest.

Her home in Coolidge was always filled with family and friends, and she was eager to prepare or serve them a meal or coffee. Her home was a center point of the east-side Coolidge barrio. Her corner yard was recognizable by many for the variety of flowering plants that she lovingly tended to for years. People could often see her out watering in the early mornings with her straw hat on. She was one to speak her mind and tell you if you were putting on some weight or if you needed to dress more appropriately. Many looked up to her. Over the years, she opened her home to many relatives who needed a place to stay or simply wanted to visit with their Tia or Nana Rita.

She was the matriarch of six loving adult children, Benny of Coolidge, Leonila of Phoenix, Melania Bustamante of Casa Grande, Dagoberto “Bert” Bustamante of Milpitas, California, Hector Bustamante of Tucson and Jeorge of Mesa; 14 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Juan Bustamante; a grandson, Eric Cano; and her nine brothers and sisters.

Visitation beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1, at St. James Catholic Church, with rosary recited at 7 p.m. Funeral Mass celebrated at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 2, at St. James, with burial following.

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