Rita D. VanHorne

Rita D. VanHorne, 89, of Black Lake, died in Cheboygan Thursday, July 9, 2020.  The daughter of Frank and Lottie (Kaczynski) Mall, Rita was born in Cleveland, Ohio March 22, 1931. She married Leon D. VanHorne (“Van”) in Bedford, Ohio August 22, 1953 and made a loving home for her husband and two sons, as well as working as an office administrator for Black and Decker.

Rita and Leon VanHorne first came to Black Lake in 1962 on a family vacation and fell in love with northern Michigan.  Rita, being a nature lover, especially loved the woods and waters of the north so the family returned each summer to fish, swim, boat and enjoy the outdoors.  In 1985, after retiring, Rita and Leon fulfilled their dream to move permanently to Black Lake to enjoy their retirement where they have resided for the last 35 years.  Rita was a member of St. Paul Catholic Church and the Black Lake Association.

An animal lover, Rita enjoyed feeding the birds, chipmunks and squirrels around her home and supported the humane society and other animal rights organizations. She had a tender spot in her heart for all animals, but especially loved dogs. Quiet, mild, and quite private, Rita was content tending to her beautiful flower gardens, watching the birds at the feeders or sitting quietly watching the lake. She was kind and considerate of others and would help anyone in need. She cherished her family, adored her grandchildren and loved her dogs. Rita’s compassionate heart and gentle smile will be sadly missed.    


Surviving Rita are her sons, Tom (Catherine) VanHorne of Chagrin Falls, Ohio and Tim (Mary Ann) VanHorne of Gastonia, North Carolina; granddaughters, Shannon VanHorne of Gastonia, Amanda VanHorne of Hickory, North Carolina, Terri (Zach) Mauldin of Concord, North Carolina, Rachel (Manny) Guzman of Washoe Valley, Nevada, and Nicki (Shawn) Marein of Lansing; as well as great-grandchildren, Lettie, Kaitlyn, Alex and Kennedy.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Leon “Van,” February 24, 2016; a brother, Frank Malchowski; and parents, Frank and Lottie Mall.

Rita will be honored privately by her family. Those planning an expression of sympathy please consider a donation in memory of Rita to your local humane society. Rita’s final resting place will be in Van Hornesville, New York at the Van Hornesville Cemetery. Cremation arrangements were in care of Chagnon Funeral Home.