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Rita Woodhull 1927-2023

Rita Woodhull died on March 20, 2023 of natural causes at the Apple Rehab Center in Colchester CT. Born on the 4th of July 1927 in Worcester MA, Ms. Woodhull (nee Salvidio), was the oldest child of Francis (Frank) and Carmella (Carrie) Salvidio. The family moved to Norwich CT in 1937.

The family opened a popular restaurant in downtown Norwich, Frank’s Grill, that featured Italian cuisine prepared by Carrie with assistance from her five children, Rita, Rosemarie (Ro), Robert (Bob), Gloria, and Francis (Jr.).

Ms. Woodhull worked at the Naval Submarine Base, New London in Groton CT, where she rose to a position of prominence in the procurement office. It was at this time Rita met her future husband U.S. Marine George Woodhull. The couple married on December 15, 1951 and remained wedded for 56 years until George’s death on September 10, 2007.

Ms. Woodhull retired from the sub base to become a homemaker and mother of Linda, George, Paul and Rena. Ms. Woodhull began working for the Hartford Times and the New London Day newspapers in 1970. Her superior clerical skills (100 words per minute) landed her a job as a teletypist, transcribing news articles and delivering them electronically at night. Soon thereafter, both newspapers were publishing articles written by Ms. Woodhull under her byline.

In 1971, Ms. Woodhull parlayed her budding career in journalism into a position as staff writer for the Norwich Bulletin. She began first writing obituaries and weddings, was promoted to features, and then landed at the police desk, where she covered hard news and reported on arrests and trials. Her reportage frequently landed her byline on the frontpage of the Bulletin and was distributed by the Associated Press to newspapers across the country. She handled her multiple roles as a career journalist, wife, and mother with aplomb in an age that preceded the notion of a “Superwoman” (as the phenomenon became to be known in the early 1980’s).

Ms. Woodhull was also active in the Backus Hospital Women's Auxiliary–now known as the Backus Hospital Auxiliary– where she served as president, and the Women’s City Club of Norwich where she served as Publicity Chair.

After leaving Norwich CT and moving to Madison CT in 1974, Ms. Woodhull transitioned to freelance journalism where her reportage was published by Business Week, The Hartford Courant, The New Haven Register, The New London Day and The Shoreline Times.

Rita Woodhull was predeceased by her husband George Woodhull, sister Gloria Gates, and brother Robert Salvidio. Ms. Woodhull is survived by her sister Rosemarie Cathcart and her brother Frank Salvidio Jr.; her daughter Linda and son-in-law Bob Plankey; her son George and daughter-in-law Joyce Woodhull (nee Biondi); her son Paul and daughter-in-law Amy Bolton; her daughter Rena and son-in-law Dave Banducci; thirteen grandchildren; and 14 great grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass will be observed on May 1, 2023 at 9:00am at The Cathedral of Saint Patrick, 213 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360

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