Rita Lorraine Jolly was born in December 1955 and grew up in West Linn, Oregon, alongside her sister, Jill Elaine, and her two brothers.
During her childhood, she was extremely creative and loved spending her free time creating art, writing poetry, and reading books after school.
“She had a real talent. I have folders filled with her writing,” Rita’s sister, Jill, said.
“I am ashamed to admit that it’s very difficult for me to go through these writings. They are such intimate windows into her life, and often the anguish in them bleeds through.”
A part of Rita’s pull toward writing might have stemmed from her parents, Donald and Mary Elizabeth Jolly. They survived both the Great Depression and World War II and met at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Later, Donald and Mary launched a law office together– with Donald working as an attorney and Mary acting as his legal secretary.
The pair highly valued critical thinking skills and education overall. So, upon having children, they made sure to foster an open learning environment.
In addition to her love of the humanities, Rita also became very interested in animals and nature. That’s why, around the age of 13, she was gifted Sugar– a gelding quarter horse– by her parents.
From then on, Rita and Sugar were best friends– traversing the countryside and exploring together.
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