In loving memory of

Rita M. Cortese-Torres
September 28, 1969 - November 18, 2021

Rita M. Cortese-Torres (nee Maresco) on November 18, 2021, of Clarksboro, NJ; formerly of Southwest Philadelphia, PA. Age 52.

Beloved wife of Mark Torres for 9 years. Devoted mother of Ava Rose Cortese. Loving daughter of Anthony and the late Diana (nee Marasco). Dear sister of Dana Umile (Nicholas). Cherished aunt of Nicholas and Veronica. Also survived by many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Rita was a proud graduate of Drexel LeBow School of Business and was a successful entrepreneur and local small business owner. Rita built a successful Plato's Closet franchise in Deptford, NJ which won multiple awards over the years for being a model store. She also co-owned the existing Play It Again Sports store in Deptford, NJ. She was a mentor to not only her employees but anyone who was interested in learning about her experiences.

There will be a visitation from 9:00am to 11:30am on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at GARDNER FUNERAL HOME, RUNNEMEDE.

Memorial Service 11:30am at the funeral home.

Entombment Saint Joseph's Mausoleum, Chews Landing, NJ.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to METAvivor, Inc., 1783 Forest Drive #184, Annapolis, MD 21401 or by visiting


Sarah Leanna wrote on Nov 27, 2021:

"Rita was my boss for one of my first & favorite jobs. She was by far the best boss I have ever had the pleasure to work for. She had such a big heart & treated all the crazy teenagers who worked for her with so much respect & love. She always took our ideas & ran with them. Every time I pass Platos, I have so Many great memories but they mostly center around Rita & her love for her employees & the store. She always made sure her daughter was just as loved. I am so sorry to her family for their loss, her energy was one of a kind ??"

Matthew Parks wrote on Nov 26, 2021:

"Words have been so hard to find to describe Rita. Her kindness, compassion and love for others will never be replaced in this world. Rita started off as my family?s upstairs neighbor down the shore, but through the years as she watched us grow, she and her family became part of our family. I?ll always appreciate our chats in the garage, bumping into each other in the stairwell and catching up with her by the pool. Sometimes seeing her was the best part of my day, she never failed to brighten my day and lift my spirits (especially this year). My deepest condolences to Mark, Ava and the rest of her family. She is a very loved woman and I will miss her terribly. I hope we meet again Rita."

Toni Rizzi wrote on Nov 26, 2021:

"Rita Rita Rita.... as I would always say. So gonna miss that beautiful face and really wished that we got together this past year as we were supposed to. I will never forget you and how you adored my boys. I take comfort knowing that you are at peace, with your mommy, in a much better place. Till we meet again my beautiful friend! Praying for strength and comfort for Mark and your family! "

Maria Cairy wrote on Nov 26, 2021:

"When the Lord called you home I knew that you resting in his love and peace but it left a hole in my heart. I can only pray all the memories of your beauty from inside and out will help fill that hole.Your spirit will forever live on. I love you "

Bay De Marco wrote on Nov 26, 2021:

"To a beautiful , warm, loving, caring, successful mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to so many people. And in my eyes a wonderful " niece" to me. Love and miss you. Bay and Donna De Marco "

Lois Duffy wrote on Nov 26, 2021:

"As I was eating dinner one night a piece came on Action News. It featured a wonderful new store where kids could buy, sell, and trade clothing. The owner, Rita, was so dynamic and engaging. The whole story caught my eye and I took my kids over to Deptford the next day. It was August, super busy, but Rita took so much time with me... telling me about her wonderful business and answering all of my questions. That was in 2006 and 15 years later I still have my store in Paoli, PA. There is no way I would have ever gotten on this path without Rita. She has been such an instrumental pivotal force in my life. I will always hold a special place in my heart for my dear fellow business woman and friend. She will be so sorely missed, but know what a tremendous impact she has made on my life and so many others."

Suzanne Bernatowicz wrote on Nov 26, 2021:

"My memory of Rita is her infectious laughter and running around her kitchen. Rita had such a big heart and Loved to entertain. Rita And Mark such a perfect fit Love you Suzanne "

joanne Shaw wrote on Nov 25, 2021:


Jimmy bernard wrote on Nov 25, 2021:

"I have no words , I'm completely floored by this this is jimmy B please call me or text me 267-207-4459"

Emily McMonigle wrote on Nov 23, 2021:

"My life guru, my optimistic mentor, my second mother, my friend. Rita you were everything amazing, tiny and mighty. I worked for you for 8 years at Plato?s and through that time we developed a strong bond. I looked up to you in so many ways. You were constantly picking yourself up, figuring it all out, juggling being a mom, wife, boss, daughter, you name it. You were always just handling business with such assurance and grace. I always felt safe in your presence. Though there are many beautiful traits, like your insanely generous heart, my most favorite trait of yours is that you loved your family so deeply. Ava and Mark were your everything (we can?t forget about your fur babies either!). I love you, Rita!!! You?re unforgettable and may god rest your soul. Until we meet again (you better have a cocktail waiting for me!) "

Michael Quigley wrote on Nov 23, 2021:

" I believe it would be easy to write , what a beautiful and incredible Wedding celebration Rita and Mark shared with All Their family and Friends ; which it was . One of the strongest memories I have was Rita Telling me adamantly how she Fought so Hard to secure additional funding to her life savings she put on the line , to open The Plato s closet . Rita s Plato closet Became the Fourth most successful in the Country. This was truly a tremendous accomplishment.Everyone Will miss this beautiful, strong Woman .Rita M.Cortese - Torres was a True Trailblazer! "

Lisa Monacello wrote on Nov 23, 2021:

"One of my oldest friends; in high school we were inseparable. It was you and me that shopped together for our prom dresses, and you who would always tell me to cheer up, calm down and don't let it get the best of you.... I can still here you saying it. Your words stay with me. Your spirit will always be with us. I had planned to reach out when your mom passed as i had reached out to Dana. Somehow I was not quick enough with my life and twists and turns never thinking I'd lose the opportunity. Rest easy old friend, I will see you when I get there....You are not directly here right now but never forgotten; my mom sends her love xoxo"

Megan Lopez-Cepero wrote on Nov 23, 2021:

"Rita impacted so many people. One day I was in Dollar General and the cashier talked about how to save money. She said that if it were for Plato's Closet that she wouldn't be able to clothe her three children. So I grab my phone and called Rita. Put her on speaker phone -- the cashier was crying because she kept telling Rita what she meant to her and the community. Rita began crying -- and gave her a lifetime discount and another very generous store credit. They bonded over being single mothers. Rita later called me and said that call was just what she needed. She made such an impact on people. She changed so many lives -- and always with a laugh, smile, a generous and kind heart. She will be missed beyond words. "

Renae Gaudette wrote on Nov 23, 2021:

"I am so sorry for Rita's family. An incredible woman! She will be missed but I hope her family, especially her daughter, knows that she inspired and influenced so many people in her journey as a small business owner and helping so many other franchisees. Her determination, spirit, and passion will not be forgotten. "

Chelsea Alyssa wrote on Nov 22, 2021:

"I am so sorry to Rita?s family and friends for the loss of such a wonderful person. Rita hired me on the spot for my first ?real? job. She was such a kind, generous, fun, and genuine person. Every time I drive past Plato?s Closet I think of Rita and the times in the very beginning of Plato?s Closet. Thank you Rita for your kindness and being an inspiration to so many of us. "

Ashley Gibson wrote on Nov 22, 2021:

"Rita, if only you knew how much you impacted my life . You were the best boss and mentor anyone could have ever had and I?m forever grateful I had you to look up to. You were not only a wonderful boss but like a second mother to all of us and I will always remember all of the wonderful times I had working for you and with our original crew. Not to mention our trip to Vegas when I was 21 ! My best memories of my young adult life were all possible because of you and I will never ever forget you. My heart breaks for all of Rita?s family and anyone who had the pleasure of knowing and loving her. Thank you Rita I will never forget you. "

Michaelann wrote on Nov 22, 2021:

"Rita aka As the original Plato?s crew called her ?hurricane?, I wish you knew how much you impacted my life. You saw the potential in me, and are part of the reason I am so successful today. Thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself, and thank you for all the memories. Everytime I hear Bon Jovi I will think of you. You impacted more lives than you could ever know. You will always be missed and never forgotten. My heart goes out to your family. Love always, Mikey (your original Plato?s Closet Manager) "