Cover photo for Rita Maranto Rodriguez's Obituary
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1930 Rita Maranto Rodriguez 2023

Rita Maranto Rodriguez

December 17, 1930 — August 25, 2023

El Paso


Rita Maranto Rodriguez, 92, was called home to be with her heavenly father on Friday, August 25. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Italian immigrants, who raised her, there, until her parents, Galliano and Faustina Montesi Martina relocated to El Paso when she was 17.

          She worked several retail jobs at the Popular, Shanes, and Zales Jewelry Stores until she married Sam Maranto Jr. in 1954 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Sam, who already owned and operated the Italian Kitchen, brought his bride in to help.

Rita enjoyed motherhood, always volunteering at her daughter’s schools. She served as a homeroom mom, a Brownie leader and any other job that needed to be done. She was a proud owner of a station wagon. Because of that, she transported many children on field trips… A definite “No- No”, today.

Sam’s unexpected death in 1969, left Rita, a single parent, with three daughters under 14 years of age. She had a family to raise and support, so she began her long career as the owner/operator of an Italian restaurant, the Italian Kitchen, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Rita met Marco Antonio Rodriguez, and married him in 1978, almost a decade after Sam’s death. Together they did a spectacular job of making the Italian Kitchen, one of the oldest, family-owned restaurants in El Paso.

While Sam was still alive, St. Patrick Cathedral Church and School held an annual St. Patrick Day Spaghetti Dinner, of which Sam and Rita donated the pasta, sauce, salad, and garlic bread. All proceeds went to the church and school.

Rita continued to support her beloved church as a life member of the Altar Society, and at one time, a Catholic Daughter. The family has memories of her always saying she was the youngest member in all of El Paso.

Rita loved to travel with her family and friends, Maria Sala and Armanda Ronutti. She treated her daughters to an annual trip to Dallas to go Christmas shopping until 9/11. She frequently traveled to Las Vegas with her husband, Marco, where she always came back, a loser. In her younger years, she, chaperoned youth groups to Europe and came home, talking about all the handsome men she had encountered. That’s how she judged the countries she visited.

She always let her doctors, Tom Alost, Muneer Assi, and Abraham Gonzales know how handsome they are. Rita always had a huge circle of friends and loyal customers. She never met a stranger. Pam Coefield, a special friend was always treated like a daughter.

Rita is preceded in death by her parents, Galliano and Faustina Montesi Martina; her husbands, Sam Maranto Jr. and Marco Antonio Rodriguez; and her grandson, Dominic Christian Castro.

Left to cherish her memories are her sister, Alda Lasini and brother, Herman Martina of Austin.

She was lucky to have her three daughters, Gina Maranto-Castro; Roseann Maranto Alonso (Santiago Alonso Jr.); and Janice Miller (Miguel), living in El Paso.

She is also survived by her six grandsons, Santiago Alonso III, Andres Alonso, Marco Antonio Alonso, Matthew Charles Miller, Michael Martin Miller (Dana) and Dante Anthony Castro (Evelyn).

In the most recent years, Rita became a great-grandmother to Santiago Alonso IV, Valentina Juliette Alonso, and Andres Elijah Castro.

Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 from 5-8 PM at Sunset Funeral Homes-West, 480 N. Resler Dr., 79912. With a Rosary recited at 6:00 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 10:30 AM at St. Patrick Cathedral Catholic Church, 1118 N. Mesa.

The family would like to Thank Tender Care Home, Health and Hospice for taking such wonderful care of her through the years, especially Jesse Carbajal, Heidi Bean, Sonia Lazos, and Lily Carrillo. We so appreciate her caretakers Lupita Soto, Pilar Ortiz, and Vicky Munoz who kept her safe and comfortable in her last months of life.

We’d also like to acknowledge Julie Zuniga, Dr. Assi’s Nurse Practitioner for many years of compassionate care.

In lieu of flowers, send your donations to the or to St. Patrick Cathedral Church. Always remember to designate that the donation is in memory of Rita Rodriguez and her address.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Rita Maranto Rodriguez, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

5:00 - 8:00pm (Mountain time)

Sunset Funeral Homes - West

480 North Resler, El Paso, TX 79912

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Starts at 6:00pm (Mountain time)

Sunset Funeral Homes - West

480 North Resler, El Paso, TX 79912

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Starts at 10:30am (Mountain time)

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