This is my mom Rita, and she’s always thankful for another day on the planet. The top image is from a day of exploring the murals in Denver’s RINO Arts District in September 2020, and we had an absolute blast! She is a delight, and “a barrel full of monkeys” at the age of 94 years YOUNG. She’s also a tennis star, an entertainer, a world traveler, and a great friend and mother. This site is where you can learn more about this amazing person, and her many accomplishments and shenanigans. Enjoy!
Above is a video of 95 year old Rita hamming it up at the banquet at a National Tournament in Houston this September (2021.) She earned another Gold Ball for winning the tournament in the 90’s division.
It goes without saying that she is still passionate about tennis, singing, dancing and doing Tai Chi at 95, and says she’s even fitter than she was in her 70’s. In this amazing podcast, Rita recalls her life growing up in New York during the Second World War, and shares memories of being a dancer and playing the night clubs and how tennis became a natural partner to her dancing career. She is rightly proud of her achievements on the court, in singles, doubles and mixed doubles and recalls those highlights, her partners and the tournaments that paved the way. Rita continues to play tennis a few times a week, and she stays fit with Silver Sneaker’s classes at the gym, Tai Chi, and of course she still sings and dances whenever she can.
Born Marguerita Theresa Caputi
Rita’s parents were american born Jenny and Italian Sebastian. Her life started in Astoria, Long Island, New York in 1926. Rita was already showing athletic abilities as a toddler on her tricycle. As a child she broke a stickball bat and was afraid of reprimand, but, instead, the coach wanted her on the team, unfortunately her mom forbid it. Still, her love of sport prevailed in many other ways, from handball to table tennis. She stayed up late shooting baskets on the local court so she could win contests for free movie tickets. Also, while she was in grammar school, the vaudevillians were sent into the schools to teach the girls to dance and the boys were taught skills needed to build bridges and roads for the burgeoning national park system – all part of Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. These dancing skills brought her to the vaudeville stage, and made her a champion tennis player later in life!
Rita York, tap dancing heart throb!
Rita adopted the stage name, “Rita York,” and dropped out of high school to tour with a traveling Burlesque group in the 40’s, as a way to help her mother with expenses after divorcing her father. At first her mother traveled with her, but Rita realized that they were in the red, so she convinced her mom to return home, and she’d send money.
Tennis, a perfect match for Rita and her dancing feet!
Prior to tennis, she played handball and paddle ball. She even got to play table tennis with the #1 player in the world. So tennis was an easy transition, and she played in her first tournament at the Denver City open in 1978. And about her game? “Well, I win funny,” she jokes. “But I’ve always had great feet! I can run, run, run, run!”
Tennis has been much more than a game to Rita. The sport has been her lifeline. “Tennis literally helped me survive a terrible divorce,” and “it saved me thousands of dollars on therapy!” And she can’t be more serious that tennis has been her “passport to life,” giving her the ability to travel and make friendships of a lifetime.