Rita Brock Perini passed away on Monday, April 18, 2022. Rita was born on October 17, 1938 in Phoenix, AZ, to the late Pedro and Eleanor Abeytia. The first of ten siblings, being an older sister inspired her to become a nurse at a young age. After attending St. Mary’s High School, she received her nursing degree at St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, and later her BSN at Arizona State University.
After 10 years of nursing, Rita was commissioned as First Lieutenant, and later promoted to Captain, in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps. She served from 1968-1971, providing care to thousands of soldiers and giving guidance to young nurses in the largest Air Force hospital in the U.S. during the Vietnam War. After her service, she worked as a Federal Inspector and nurse consultant for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in Georgia, retiring as a principal medical fraud investigator in 2003.
Rita served as Commissioner on the Phoenix Military Veterans Commission, an advisory group to the Mayor from 2004-2014. In 2006 she co-chaired the Committee which established the Veterans Hospitality Room, now known as USO Phoenix at Sky Harbor Airport. For 20 years, Rita was active and held various leadership positions with the Veterans Medical Leadership Council, an organization that helps advocate for quality medical and mental health care for veterans and raises funds to help veterans experiencing hard times. In recognition of her service and dedication to veterans, she was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2013.
Rita is survived by her son, Craig Philip Echeveste (Maria), granddaughters, Stephanie (Jeremy), Valerie (Ben), Emily and Alicia, and great granddaughter Manuela; and siblings Josie Quinby (John), Cecilia Bushman (Marvin), Armida Maxey, Sylvia Whitman, Belen Coffman (Larry), Bernie Abeytia (Aurelia) and Barbara Abeytia, and many nieces and nephews. Rita is preceded in death by her parents, Pedro and Eleanor Abeytia, brother Benny Abeytia and sister Margarita “Pinky” Abeytia.
Rita lived a full life, dedicated in service to family, community, and country. She will be missed by many.
A Visitation will be held on Monday, May 2, 2022 from 5:00-7:00pm at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School in Phoenix. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 10:00am at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1954 N. 24th Street, Phoenix. Reception to follow from 12:00-4:00pm at the Tony F. Soza-Ray Martinez Thunderbird American Legion Post 41, 715 S. Second Ave. Phoenix. Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com