Richard Zita



March 16, 1958 — February 21, 2019

Richard “Rich” Francis Zita of Pendleton passed away due to complications from cancer on Feb. 21, 2019.

Rich was born in New Britain, Conn., on March 16, 1958, to F. Richard Zita and Dorothy M. Cutsforth. The family lived in Condon, Ore., until Rich was six and then moved to Beaverton, where he graduated from Aloha High School. He enlisted into the Oregon Army National Guard after graduation and honorably served six years. He moved to Pendleton in the early 1980s and earned an associate degree from Blue Mountain Community College.

He worked repairing heavy equipment in Pendleton for over 30 years. On August 29, 1987, he married Sheridan Sweek of Heppner, and their wonderful life together included two sons, Cory and Nicolas. In later years, he attended Eastern Oregon University in La Grande to earn his bachelor’s degree. He was diagnosed and began cancer treatments in 2007.

Aside from his family, his greatest love was for the outdoors, especially the Blue Mountains and our national parks. He made a point of planning family vacations each year, making wonderful memories with his sons.

Preceded in death by both parents and his wife, Rich is survived by his stepmother Helen Clark, and siblings Deborah Zita, Susan Zita Perle, Judith Wodecki, Christopher Zita and Elizabeth Ashbeck.

Family members have organized a celebration of life from 2 to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 2 at Echo Ridge Cellars in Echo, Ore.

In lieu of gifts, Rich asked that family and friends spend time with someone special.

Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements. Sign the online guest book at

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