Dr. Rita Goldberg, 87, of Canton

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT
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Dr. Rita Goldberg, Professor Emerita of Spanish, 87, of Canton, died at her home, Thursday,...
Dr. Rita Goldberg, Professor Emerita of Spanish, 87, of Canton, died at her home, Thursday, June 17, 2021.(Funeral Home)

CANTON, New York (WWNY) - Dr. Rita Goldberg, Professor Emerita of Spanish, 87, of Canton, died at her home, Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Rita was born October 1, 1933 in NYC, a daughter of the late Abraham Moses and Hilda (Weinman) Goldberg.

“Rita earned her BA at Queens College, her MA at Middlebury Graduate School of Spanish in Madrid, Spain; and her Ph.D. at Brown University. She held the Charles A. Dana Professorship of Modern Languages and Literatures in recognition of her exemplary scholarship and won the Maslow Award in 1982 to honor her commitment to her students. Rita founded and directed SLU’s study abroad program in Madrid, Spain on many occasions. In honor of her retirement, friends and colleagues established the Goldberg Fund for International Study in 2002. It has helped students travel and study abroad. At the time of her 2001 retirement, she had the honor of being the longest-serving faculty member, having begun her teaching career here in 1957.

She was passionate about Spanish teaching and she spoke the language as a native. Her love for Spain and the Spanish culture was present in everything she did. Each year she lived in Spain for many months in an apartment that she shared with her good friend Carmen Silveira. She was a life-long researcher in the Spanish language and culture, being particularly interested in Spanish literature. She believed in the importance of opening to other cultures and the value in developing a more balanced, global view of our world.

She worked on developing the AP Spanish Language and Culture exams for many years and served as a moderator for the College Board’s AP Spanish Teacher Community.

After retirement, Rita remained one of the most active members of the Laurentian community. An early adopter of teaching with technology, she created an online resource connecting high school students with University faculty called “Ask the Prof” and she coordinated many gatherings, in person and online, of retired colleagues.

In 2006, Rita established the St. Lawrence University Spanish Teacher Fellowship. Designed to support Spanish teachers who would benefit from spending time in a Spanish-speaking country, the fellowship identifies outstanding North Country and alumni teachers of Spanish, assists their professional development, and creates links between the Spanish program at St. Lawrence and the teachers’ schools.” –Adapted from President Bill Fox’s Campus announcement.

Rita was also active in her Canton community as a communicant of St. Mary’s Church and member of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. Rita was a Board of Trustees officer for the historical association, Rita contributed many years of unselfish and invaluable wisdom and skill to the Association from her vast academic experience and served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer.

Rita is survived by two nephews and a niece, Brian (Penny) Vorwald; Gary (Regina) Vorwald and Lynn (Scott) Costa, great-nieces and nephews, Jenna (Ethan) Turin, Scott (Katie) Vorwald, Andrew Vorwald, Adam (Victoria Fu) Vorwald, Ryan Federman and Cole Federman. Also surviving are a great-great nephew, Theo Vorwald and great-great nieces, Amber and Ayla Turin and many cousins.

In addition to her parents, Rita is predeceased by a sister, Sarah Vorwald and a brother, Eli Goldberg.

Calling hours for Rita will be held on Sunday, June 27 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the O’Leary Funeral Home, Canton. A Funeral Liturgy for Rita will be held on Monday, June 28, 2021 at 10:00 am at St. Mary’s Church, Canton with Father Bryan Stitt, Pastor presiding. Memories and condolences are encouraged online at Arrangements for Dr. Rita Goldberg are under the care of the O’Leary Funeral Service of Canton.

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