Rita Maria Chlodney

Rita Maria Chlodney, 82

Rita Maria Chlodney, 82, of Lafayette, died on Sunday, September 30, 2012.

She was born in Heiligenstadt, Germany on December 8, 1929, and was the daughter of the late Anna and Ignatz Wenzel.

Rita graduated from Seton Hill University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and from the University of Pittsburgh with a master's degree in German literature. She had an awe-inspiring library, and read hundreds of books in German and English. She loved talking about books with anyone who loved to read.

Rita met her husband Andrew when he was stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany after the war. Rita came to the United States with Andy, and they lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were joyfully married for 58 years, and cared lovingly for each other in sickness and in health. Andy died in 2009, but he stayed close to Rita in her mind and soul. Rita told everyone how grateful she was for every day of life with her "angel."

They have three children, Raymond (wife: Patti Bess) Chlodney, Ann Christine (husband: David) Catlin and Mary Margaret (husband: Tom) Scott, and four grandchildren, Melinda, Michael, Jason and Lisa. Rita had four brothers, Rigo, Immo (wife: Trudi), Achill (wife: Dorle) and Anno (wife: Gisela), and one sister Lioba, all in Germany. Rigo, Achill, Anno and Gisela preceded her in death. She has dozens of loving aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews in Germany—and there have been decades of joyous visits between Germany and the United States by many in this big, happy family. Rita did so much for her children throughout their lives, and said many times that she and her children were "always the best of friends."

Rita taught German, English and History at Norwin Senior High School in Irwin, Pa. for thirty years. Rita taught more than facts, she inspired a generation of students to love learning and find joy in knowing.

Rita was beautiful, loved beautiful things, and brought beauty to every place she was. She planted beautiful gardens. She loved beautiful music, especially Bach, Mozart, and Schubert—and she sang and played piano and organ. She loved art. She loved hiking in the woods and gathering wildflowers. She loved to cook for her family, and we all agreed that she made the best soups, sauces and German pastries in the world. Rita's love of books, music, art, cooking, piano, and hiking was passed to her children and grandchildren. She showed us all how to have fun and love the beauty that is a gift of God.

Rita had a deep faith, a lovely smile, a tremendous wit, and remarkable strength of body and mind. She loved to work hard, whether studying new things or cleaning the house. We learned a lot about smiling and working hard from being with her. Rita will be deeply missed, but she lives on within us. We will see her always and everywhere, in this world and the next. We love you forever, dearest Mother and Omi.

There will be a mass to celebrate Rita's life at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday at Saint Boniface Catholic Church with Father Tim Alkire officiating, and she will be buried next to her husband Andrew in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Hippensteel Funeral Home is entrusted with care. Share memories and condolences online at www.hippensteelfuneralservice.com.

Published in the Journal & Courier on Oct. 2, 2012