Queens, NY — Rita Louise Varian, 41, a ceramic artist, administrative assistant, daughter, sister, and loyal friend, died unexpectedly of heart disease at her home in Queens on Monday August 30, 2021. Rita was creative and artistically gifted from an early age. She was introduced to hand-building with clay at White Plains Middle School and continued working with clay through high school while taking college-level art courses in the evening at the Westchester Arts Workshop.
She developed many life-long friendships and cared deeply about people who were disadvantaged, ignored, or discriminated against.
She was intelligent, a voracious reader, and mentally and emotionally strong-willed.
Rita was born in Manhattan on January 23, 1980, to Mark and Miriam Varian, and lived in Brooklyn until her family moved to Westchester. She spent most of her school years in the White Plains public schools, where her artistic ability was encouraged and her appreciation for music found an outlet in playing the French horn in the high school symphonic band and the Top Bass French horn choir.
She was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from SUNY New Paltz in 2006. After her formal education, Rita moved to Queens and created her ceramic works at the BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center in Long Island City, New York.
Rita has been working for the past 15 years as an Administrative Assistant at John Gallin & Son, Inc., a general contractor in Manhattan. Her responsibilities included preparation of contracts and insurance documents to support the work of the construction teams in the field. She represented the fifth generation of Gallin family members (her grandmother was Mary Gallin) to work at the firm.
Her art work has appeared in exhibitions and juried shows throughout the New York metropolitan area and in cities across the United States, most recently at The Nippon Club in New York City.
She is survived by her parents of Gardiner, NY, brothers John Varian of Gaithersburg, MD and Thomas Varian of New Rochelle, NY, 27 aunts and uncles, 42 cousins, and her dear friend Eli Balin of Brooklyn, NY
Arrangements have been made through George J. Moylan Funeral Home Inc. in Rosendale, NY (www.GJMoylanFuneralHome.com). She will be buried in Rosendale Plains Cemetery 11:30 AM on Thursday September 9, 2021. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Ali Forney Center (www.aliforneycenter.org) or your favorite charity.