On October 22, 2020, Rita Castleman Berman, age 88, died in her home in Mebane, NC with her two daughters by her side.
Born in London, England in 1932, Rita emigrated to the United States in 1956 where she became a medical writer at Albany College. She met Ezra Berman on a blind date and in 1959 married him and moved to Michigan State University where Ezra earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. The United States Public Health Service relocated Ezra (then a commissioned officer) to Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, and North Carolina. Most of her adult life was spent in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and in 1976 became a US Citizen (and bought her first pair of blue jeans).
Rita used her secretarial, writing, and lecturing skills throughout her life. She has published over 350 articles of her travels (to Europe, the Caribbean and around the US) and about writers and writing. She has edited numerous works included books by Carla Shuford, Society of Military Widows, and Jospeh A. Marro) and published her own memoirs such as: “I saw London Burning” (published in Celebrating Family History by Heritage Books in 2005); “Dating Adventures of a Widow” and “Parallel Lives” (both published by Righter Books). Rita participated in Chapel Hill Shared Learning providing lectures on Victorian and 20th century writers, acknowledged in the Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and Who’s Who of American Women 12th Edition, an active member of Women in Communication from 1974-1992, and judge for the Burlington Writers Club. Although she played with creative writing (“The Key” and “The Polish Professor”), Rita was most comfortable as a journalist.
Rita shared her grasp of the English language by volunteering at Estes Hills and Efland-Cheeks elementary schools. She participated in many homeowner associations and town boards, task forces, and volunteered at the Carrboro police department and Orange County court system. In 2011, she was honored by the Chapel Hill Historical Society as a Town Treasure. After residing in Chapel Hill for 40 years, she moved to Mebane.
Rita is survived by sister Ann C. Halinger, daughters Jessica B. Booker and Rebecca B. Dunleavy, sons-in-law Joel G. Booker and Terence M. Dunleavy, granddaughters Callie D. Booker Martin and Tess B. Booker, step-grandchildren Brittany E. Dunleavy Venzon and Ryan F. Dunleavy, and three great-grandchildren. Predeceased by her husband Ezra Berman and brother Maurice Castleman.
We hope that when you are confronted with a challenging in your life, you will think about Rita’s common phrase in tacking a frustrating the situation “There must be a simpler way”.
Private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, Rita has requested donations be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (jdrf.org). She selected this organization because her granddaughter has been living with Type 1 diabetes at age eight and Rita wanted to bring awareness and find a cure to this lifetime disease.
Walker’s Funeral Home of Mebane is serving the family.