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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Rita Williams

Rita Williams

February 6, 1922 - February 21, 2021

Service Information Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills

Service Date: Wednesday February 24th, 2021

Service Time: 9:00 am

Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills

5950 Forest Lawn Drive

Los Angeles, California 90068

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Rita Cohen Williams passed away peacefully Sunday February 21, 2021 at her home in Los Angeles after a long and wonderfully fulfilling life.  She was 99 years old and had outlived all her siblings as well as her late husband Ted Williams whom she loved and missed dearly after his passing in 2006.

Rita was born in New York city in February 1922 where she grew up with her parents Sol and Pauline Cohen and her sister Eleanor Small and brothers Sid Clute and Fred Cohen. They lived over their mercantile and jewelry store on Grand Avenue in a cold water flat where she always remembered her parents helping those less fortunate and the many push cart vendors who worked on the street.  She attended Seward Park High School and went on to the University of Chicago, UCLA and Berkley where she studied and eventually became a psychiatric social worker with Jewish Family Services.

In 1953 she was introduced to Ted Williams who had recently lost his wife Mae to cancer.  Ted and Rita married and Rita helped raise Ted’s two young daughters Lezlie and Shelley.  Upon moving to West Los Angeles, Rita gave birth to a son, Wayne and then a daughter, Patti.

Throughout their marriage, not only did they travel the world with their family, but Ted and Rita were constantly involved and supportive of anti war Progressive causes and often held informative events at their home along with fundraisers for progressive political candidates.

Rita was a Founder of OPICA (Older Persons in a Caring Atmosphere) which helped establish a safe place for those with Dementia and Alzheimers to have interaction, activities and day care support.  The OPICA facility located at Stoner Park in Los Angeles is named after Rita & Ted.

She was a most caring, empathetic soul who always wanted to help anyone who was in need.  The Ted and Rita Williams Foundation continued to make social justice, educational and environmental contributions for over 40 years.

She would often quote Shakespeare saying, ‘Life is but a dream’ and ‘all the world is a stage and we are merely players’

Rita is survived by her son Wayne Williams, daughter Patti Blake and step daughters Lezlie Atlas and Shelley Atlas and their families.

In light of the Covid pandemic there will be a small private service at Mt. Sinai where she will be laid to rest next to her late husband Ted.

Please feel free to make any donations in her name to either or the California Clean Money Campaign at