1921 – 2014

LEWISTON—Rita F. “Betty Cody” Binette, 92, of 124 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, died at her home on Tuesday, July 1.

Born in Sherbrooke, P.Q., Canada, on Aug. 17, 1921, she was the daughter of Alphonse and Albina Cote, the sixth of 11 children. Her family moved to Auburn, where she attended Catholic school.

She began yodeling and singing at a young age, and her first appearance was at WCOU Radio in Lewiston at the age of 15. In 1940, she married a musician, Hal “Lone Pine” Breau, and the couple had four sons together. Rita began performing with Lone Pine, and in the early 50s, they were signed to RCA, releasing several recordings. Rita also sang on a radio program for ABC and toured with several well-known musicians across the United States and Canada, including Kitty Wells, Chet Atkins, Hank Snow, and Dick Curless. She was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979.

She chose raising her sons over a full-time music career, but performed her whole life, specializing in yodeling, country and French songs. In addition to being extremely talented, Rita was a charming, funny, outgoing and down-to-earth woman, with a kind word and smile for everyone. She always had an optimistic, positive attitude and was loved by everyone lucky enough to know her, and many who didn’t.

Survivors include three sons, Richard Breau and wife, Trudy, of Lewiston, Denny Breau and wife, Ann, of Lewiston, and Robert Breau and wife, Julia, of Auburn; three stepsons, George Jr., Bruce, and Dennis; a stepdaughter, Brenda; three brothers, Leonard Cote and wife, Rachel, of New Auburn, Normand Cote and wife, Monita, of Florida, and Bertrand Cote of New Auburn; two sisters, Lucille Arel of New Auburn, and Marguerite St. Onge of New Auburn; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Besides her parents, she was predeceased by her first husband in 1977; her second husband, George Binette of Lisbon, in 2002; a son, Lenny Breau; a stepson, Ronnie; two sisters, Florence Hooper and Fernand Bissonette; and three brothers, Roger, Ivan and Paul Cote.

The family would like to thank the staff of Ouellette’s Adult Foster Home for all the love, care and attention they gave Rita over the last couple of years.

Condolences and a video tribute may be accessed online at www.albert-burpee.com.

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