FRANKLIN GROVE – Rita Ann Whitlock Welsh, 80, of Franklin Grove, died Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at Serenity Hospice & Home in Oregon. She was a teacher for 41 years, retiring in 1994.
Rita was born June 27, 1933, in Freedom Township, LaSalle County, to Roy Mitchell and Ethel (Hedgespeth) Whitlock. She married George Welsh on Aug. 21, 1954, at the Methodist Church in Earlville. Rita attended LaSalle County country schools and Earlville High School. She went on to earn her bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University, and her master of science and post-master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University. Rita taught from 1953 to 1970 at Oregon Elementary School, from 1970 to 1989 at Ogle County Educational Cooperative, and from 1989 to 1994 at Lee County Special Education Association. Her hobbies included travelling, genealogy, and history.
She was proudly affiliated with the Ogle-Lee Retired Teachers Association, Illinois Educational Association, National Education Association, and Lee County Genealogical Association. She was a member at large of the American Association of University Women. She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Dixon, and a former member of Earlville Methodist Church. Rita recently received the Lifetime Achievement for Genealogy Award from the Dixon Main Street organization and the Lee County Genealogical Society. The library at the genealogical society will soon be named the “Rita Welsh Library” in her honor.
Survivors include her husband, George Welsh of Franklin Grove; one daughter, Valerie Welsh of Madison, Wis.; one sister, Betty (Junior) Thomas of Sheridan; seven nieces, Rebecca (Mikael) Olsen of Bryan, Texas, Nancy (Donald) Henegar of Dixon, Jackie Knight of Ottawa, Jill (Randy) Jannusch of Bloomington, Diane (Steve) Dodson of Burlingame, Kan., Susan (John) Winters of Frankfort, Kan., and Kimberly Anderson; three nephews, John (Carol) Thomas of Sheridan, Dale Anderson of Hudson, and Anthony Whitlock of Chicago; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, Russell, Dale, Leroy, and Roderick Whitlock; one half-brother, Floyd Whitlock; and one half-sister, Marzetta Neeley.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Preston-Schilling Funeral Home in Dixon. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Dixon, with the Rev. Janet Wittenmyer, pastor, officiating. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to Earlville Methodist Church; St. Paul Lutheran Church; and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the training and placement of guide dogs.
Visit www.prestonschillingfuneralhome.com to send condolences.