In Memory of




Obituary for Rita Whalen (Parisi)

Rita (Parisi) Whalen, 85, of Branchburg, NJ passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Saturday, April 30, 2022. She was born May 20,1936 in Plainfield, NJ to parents Lucrezia and Leonardo Parisi. She was a lifelong resident of South Plainfield where she was a devout communicant of the Church of the Sacred Heart.

After graduation from Plainfield High School, Rita attended Muhlenberg School of Nursing earning her license as a practical nurse. For the majority of her career she was employed by Hackensack Meridian Health JFK University Medical Center as a maternal child health nurse until her retirement in 2001. She loved caring for new mothers and babies, and felt blessed to witness the birth of many of her own grandchildren.

Rita adored being surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She created endless memories for her family punctuated by her delicious cooking, witty sense of humor, and sage advice. Because of her, we know the comfort that a fresh brewed cup of coffee can provide.

She was predeceased by her parents and five elder siblings, Pasquale (Pat), Frances Cortese, Anthony (Tony), Girolamo (Gene), and Frank. She is survived by her beloved children Mary and Robert Laurencelle, Eileen and Brian Fertig, Michael and Heather Whalen, Catherine Hofmann, and Rita and Gary Tuma. She will be greatly missed by her thirteen grandchildren Bobby, Kate (Richard), Rob (Rachel), Alison, Tom (Kristen), Daniel, Michael, Matthew, Olivia, Jackson, Mac, Susan, and Maurice, and her eight great-grandchildren Emma, Alex, Joseph, Christopher, Claire, Brooke, Annabelle and Kevin.

Visitation will be Friday, May 6, 2022 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Valley Memorial Funeral Home, 1012 Valley Road, Gillette, NJ. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, May 7, 2022, 10:00 a.m. at Church of the Sacred Heart, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield, NJ. Interment will follow at Immaculate Conception Cemetery & Mausoleum, 316 Old Allerton Road, Annandale, NJ. For more information and online condolences visit

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her name to JFK University Medical Center Foundation, Maternal & Child Services Fund, 65 James Street, Edison, NJ and/or a charity of your choice.