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Rita Leonard Schaefer
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Birth: Feb. 16, 1919
Death: Mar. 4, 2002

Local prominent artist Rita Schaefer died at the age of 83 on March 4, 2002, in Brooksville, Fla.

She was born in Tacoma, Wash., on Feb. 16, 1919, one of five children born to Edward Peter Leonard and Mary Jeanette Barney.

Rita graduated from Washington State University, Summa Cum Laude, with a bachelor's degree in fine arts and a minor in music. She studied under the internationally acclaimed abstract expressionists, Clyfford Still. She had her first one-person show under his tutelage in Spokane, Wash. Rita's art has been exhibited in galleries in Washington, New York, California, Louisiana, Utah, Florida, New Mexico, Illinois, and other states. She won over 150 awards for her art, many on the national level.

She is also credited with organizing the first symphony orchestra in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and has the practice hall building named for her. Rita also had a wonderful sense of humor.

She married Charles F. Schaefer on Oct. 14, 1941. They were 36-year residents of Fort Walton Beach. His career with Air Force civil service took them from Washington to New Mexico and Florida where he was the Civilian Personnel Officer at Eglin Air Force Base. They had been married for 60 years when Mr. Schaefer died last December.

Rita is also preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Julia Snyder and Genevieve Gustafson; brother, Peter Leonard; and son, Charles Schaefer.

Mrs. Schaefer is survived by her sister, Mary Anne Hoffman of Seattle; children, Nick Schaefer and wife Sandy of Scottsdale Ariz., Shirley Fry and husband Hayden of Mesquite, Nev., George Schaefer and his partner Stuart Schwart of Gainesville, Fla., Rae Rudny and husband John of Brooksville; her daughter-in-law, Gayle Schaefer of Jacksonville, Fla.; five grandchildren, Lesley Humphrey, Bryan Griffin, Jayme Griffin, Suzanne Strader, Chaz Schaefer; and three great grandchildren, Hayden Griffin, Ashleigh Griffin, and Nicholas Humphrey.

Funeral arrangements are being made by Emerald Coast Funeral Home.

There will be a Mass for both Rita and Chuck Schaefer at St. Mary's Catholic Church at 2 p.m. Monday, March 11. Mr. Schaefer will be inurned and Mrs. Schaefer will be interred at Jesse Rogers Memorial Cemetery. There will also be a private at-sea memorial for Mr. Schaefer. 
Family links: 
  Charles F Schaefer (1918 - 2001)*
*Calculated relationship
Parents of Nicholas, Shirley, Charles, George, and Rita Rae "Together in Life Together with God Ever After"
Jesse Rogers Memorial Cemetery
Mary Esther
Okaloosa County
Florida, USA
Created by: Michelle Woodham
Record added: Oct 22, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12132856
Rita <i>Leonard</i> Schaefer
Added by: Michelle Woodham
Rita <i>Leonard</i> Schaefer
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Michelle Woodham
Photos may be scaled.
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 Added: Sep. 14, 2009

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