Rita Joyce (Polasik) Solbrig, 92, a longtime resident of Ellwood City, PA passed away on April 6th, 2021 at Connecticut Hospice in Branford, CT. Rita’s last place of residence was Guilford, CT where she had been temporarily living with her daughter, Camille Solbrig and son-in-law Michael Weiner, since July 2020. Before the summer of 2020 she resided in Harrisburg, PA. Rita and her husband, Charles (who passed away 3/5/17), moved to Harrisburg from Ellwood City, where they had lived since 1970, in 2014 to be near their daughter Carolyn (Solbrig) Sinisi.
Born November 24th, 1928, in Chicago, IL, Rita was the daughter of Michael Peter Polasik and (Camilla) Emily (Bukowski) Polasik, 1st and 2nd generation immigrants from Poland/Prussia. She was the surviving sibling of three girls born to Michael and Emily: Virginia Benben, Adaline Donarski, and Rita Solbrig.
Rita graduated from Kelly High School in Chicago, IL in 1946. While in high school she was in the band, an editor of the school newspaper (Clarion Exchange), a Drum Majorette and a ticket office assistant. During high school she began working as a telephone operator and had been working as a supervisor of operators in Chicago when she met her husband Charles Vance Solbrig of South Bend, IN in 1952. They courted before marrying on June 6th, 1954.
The couple, with 2 daughters by 1960 moved from, IL, to KY, to upstate NY, and finally to WI as Charles’ employer transferred him to different manufacturing facilities. While living in WI, their son Charles E was born. The family moved one final time in 1970 to Ellwood City, PA so Charles (senior) could take a position at Medusa Cement Company. Throughout the moving and re-settling, Rita was an attentive mother to her children and a companion and partner to her husband. She was occasionally employed in retail or manufacturing positions to augment the money available for the family.
Rita and Charles were tired of re-locating, so they put down roots in Ellwood City vowing not to make another move. They were able to keep that promise until 2014 when age and disability required that they relocate closer to their children. Rita’s three children (Camille, Carolyn, and Charles E.) all attended Lincoln High School and Penn State University. While living in Ellwood City, both before and after the children left home, Rita remained active in the work force. She found employment at Edelman’s Shoes, Airway Luggage, Medusa Cement, PA State (New Castle Unemployment Office), and was an agent with Century 21 Real Estate.
Rita was an avid sewer of home decor and made many of her children’s clothes when they were small. She loved fashion, decorating, and beautiful things. Each one of her moves to a different house brought the challenge of making that house a “home.”
Rita is survived by her children and their spouses: Camille Solbrig and husband Michael Weiner of Guilford, CT, Carolyn Sinisi and husband David Sinisi of Harrisburg, PA, Charles E. Solbrig and wife Gail Monds of Ypsilanti, MI, and six grandchildren, Evan, Samantha, Alan, David, Eliot, and Emily.
Funeral services will be held at the Marshall Funeral Home, 200 Fountain Ave. Ellwood City. Visiting hours will be held on Friday April 16th from 2 pm to 4 pm, and from 7 pm to 9 pm. The funeral will follow on Saturday April 17th starting at 10 am at Marshalls funeral home with Rev. Tod Custer officiating. Rita will be entombed next to her husband in St. Peters’ mausoleum at Holy Redeemer Parish Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ellwood City Library or the Ellwood City Area Family Center (311 College St.). Online condolences may be sent to marshallsfh.com