Christy Marie Rich, a resident of Lee, MA, died unexpectedly from heart failure on December 2, 2019 at the age of 34.
Christy is survived by her mother, Barbara Wells Rich of Newport, RI and her father, Arthur Rich III of Kennebunk, ME as well as her siblings, Craig Rich of Newport, RI and Laurie Rich Mureddu with her husband Rob, of Middletown, RI. She is predeceased by her brother, Eric Monk. Christy had a beloved relationship with her aunt, Laurie Forfa of Lee, MA. She will be missed by aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Including her housemates, Cathy, Leslie, Tina and Betsy as well as her close friend, Nathan.
Christy was born on January 14, 1985 in Newport News, VA and moved to Newport, RI at the age of one. She attended the James L. Maher Center until the age of 8 before she transitioned into an inclusion program at Sheffield Elementary School where she paved the way for others. During this time, her story of defying development expectations was featured on the Children’s Miracle Network.
She continued to thrive after moving to Berkshire County in 1997 where she attended schools in both Adams, MA and Pittsfield, MA before finally settling into Lee High School. Christy eventually went on to receive her Certificate of Completion from Lee High School with the class of 2006. She was the recipient of the Daniel Holian Memorial Award for her graduating class. After graduation, Christy was an active attendee of the Lee Day Program. She enjoyed social activities hosted by Berkshire County ARC and was often the life of the party. Christy was also a parishioner of St. Mary’s Church in Lee, MA.
Christy was a very charismatic woman filled with a passion to enjoy everything life had to offer. She did not allow physical or communication obstacles to hold her back. She participated in the Berkshire County Summer Games in Great Barrington for over 20 years with the Special Olympics. Christy has earned over 50 medals, specializing in the Softball Throw. In November 2017, she was the recipient of the Joan Grant Self-Advocate Award at the Berkshire County ARC Annual Meeting. Despite being non-verbal, Christy had no problem advocating for her needs through facial expressions, pointing, vocalizations, and some sign-language.
She will be remembered for her love of dancing, swimming, shopping, balloons, bubbles, dressing up, jewelry, and music. She greatly enjoyed spending time with her sister Laurie whom have shared a special bond since childhood. Under the love and guidance of her aunt and uncle, Laurie and Ed Forfa, along with support of Berkshire County ARC, Christy continued to thrive in her adulthood, leading a very full, meaningful and happy life. As she often helped others throughout her life, Christy will continue to do so as a donor for the New England Tissue Bank helping others to see and heal.
Funeral Services for Christy Marie Rich will be held Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 10am at St. Mary’s Church with a Liturgy of Christian Burial. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Visiting Hours will be held December 10, 4-7pm at the Kelly Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make a donation payable to the Berkshire County ARC (BCARC), in care of the Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee, MA 01238.
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Berkshire County ARC
C/O Kelly Funeral Home 3 Main St., Lee MA 01238