Memorial services for Rita Vanessa Tracy, 82, Lawrence, will be at 2 pm Sunday, November 1, 2020, at Trinity Episcopal Church, with the Rev. Rob Baldwin officiating. The service will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/pg/TrinityLawrenceKS/posts/ Inurnment will take place in the Matthews Chapel columbarium at the church following the service. A public Celebration of Life will be held at a later date when gathering restrictions are lifted. Mrs. Tracy died Thursday, October 8, 2020, at The Windsor of Lawrence.
She was born September 10, 1938, in Leavenworth, Kansas, the daughter of Wilbert Gottlieb and Evelyn Vanessa Schreiber. She graduated from Leavenworth High School in 1956. She later graduated from the University of Kansas in 1960 with a BSN in Nursing. She also graduated from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1972 with a MS degree in Family Life and Child Development. In 1984 Rita received a MS degree from the University of Kansas in Maternal and Child Health Nursing and was certified as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner.
She married Dr. Dick Blaylock Tracy on May 29, 1964, in Leavenworth. He survives of the home. Other survivors include a daughter Vanessa Milota (husband Barry) and grandson Joshua Milota, Lawrence; a sister, Velta Rose Kramer, Manhattan; nieces Lou Ann Claassen (Dale), Manhattan, Lisa Mancin (Mark), Platte City, Mo., and children Tristan and Rosie, Judith Tracy, Ellen Tracy, and Mary Slusser Tracy (Chris), River Forest, Ill.. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother-in-law, Bud Kramer, and a brother-in-law, Father Max Tracy.
Mrs. Tracy was a Registered Nurse for forty years, retiring from Washburn University after 24 years of teaching in the School of Nursing. Prior to teaching nursing, she was employed at the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, and Athens Mental Health Center in Athens, Ohio.
Mrs. Tracy held membership in the American Nurses Association and the Kansas State Nursing Association, Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Tau International, Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and The Society of Rogerian Scholars. She also participated in numerous volunteer activities in the Lawrence and Topeka communities. Over the years, she volunteered at the Topeka Rescue Mission where she initiated and conducted a nurse managed clinic. She volunteered for Mother to Mother, and taught women’s health at the Douglas County Jail. Over the years, she volunteered for numerous organizations including LINK, and the Jubilee Café.
Mrs. Tracy was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Lawrence for many years and served in a variety of ministries. She and her husband were both ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons by the Right Reverend William E. Smalley, Bishop of Kansas on September 9, 2000. She and Dick both served at Trinity from 2000 until their retirement.
The family suggests memorial contributions to Trinity Episcopal Church, the Lawrence Community Shelter, or the Alzheimer’s Association, in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044. Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com
Messages & Condolences
It was such a joy to know and to work with Rita Tracy. She was one of the most faithful and skilled deacons I’ve ever known. Thoughtful, generous, loyal, kind, and funny, Rita encouraged everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas to be better. Rita visited my mother in her last years when she was in nursing care at Pioneer Ridge and I will forever be in her debt.
May she rest in eternal peace… and rise in incomparable glory.
Bishop Dean E. Wolfe
I first met Rita when I attended Washburn University. She was kind and patient and helped me learn so much about nursing. I will always remember how she encouraged students to learn in her quiet and gentle manner. I have had the opportunity, in subsequent years, to run into her from time to time in Lawrence and we always stopped to chat a while. She exemplified kindness and caring. She will be missed.
I met Rita when I volunteered at the Topeka rescue missions health clinic. She was always so gracious and humble and yet I learned so much from her in such a short period of time. We ended up being neighbors in her later years and she always had such a sweet smile when I would walk past her house with my dog. She will be missed greatly.
Rita and Dick were our neighbors for many years and were the most wonderful friends. I know they did so much for Trinity Church and that is the last place I saw her. A most special lady who was clearly a guiding light to many.
Gary and Janice Toebben
We send our love and condolences to Dick and his family. Rita was such a lovely caring, generous and gentle soul, quietly supportive and encouraging. She is the kind of person who never really leaves. I can picture and hear her so clearly. She has been a blessing to us all.
Rita and Dick have been my guiding lights along my spiritual journey. We shared so many important events, some silly, delightful; some sad. Rita will always be remembered as an example of a true Christian. She always did her best for others. I send my love to Dick especially, and to her family.
Rita was a gift to God’s Church and God’s people. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. My prayers are with Dick and all of Rita’s family.
Our families have grown up together at Trinity. Rita Tracy had such a gentleness about her; I do not think I ever heard her raise her voice. However, she quietly went about helping everyone, determined to make the lives of others better. She and Dick have made enormous contributions to the lives of Trinitarians and we are the richer for having known her.
Dear Dick, Vanessa & all of Rita’s family – My heartfelt sympathy to you at this time of great loss. I had the divine pleasure of working with Rita during her time at the School of Nursing. I loved knowing her, working with her, and watching her as she interacted with all her students. Voltaire said “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Everyone I ever knew, who met – or worked with – or was taught by Rita had a deep appreciation of what she brought to their lives. And all have been enriched by their interactions with her. These thousands of people are now carrying her excellence forward into the world and sharing it with others. What a beautiful legacy – from such a beautiful lady. RIP Rita – I will miss you dear friend – Connie (White) DiPasquale, WU SON secretary (retired).
Rita was such a one of a kind I ever meet,always caring of others and helping other in anyway she could.I have missed seeing her andDick! RIP Rita!Dick and family your in our thoughts and prayers.
Rita was a gentle caring person who always had an encouraging word. She was also very practical in her manner of life and ways of being present and helpful.
I had Rita as a teacher when I went to nursing school at Washburn. I was in a dark place in my life and will never forget her gentle encouragement to finish my degree. She made such an impact on my life and on that of my (now grown) children. Thank you, Rita, for being there for me.
Beth and I have known the Tracys for forty years. You will not meet better folks than either of them. Rita was a kind and caring soul,, and so is her husband, Dick, who still lives in Lawrence, Kansas. They have worn their values on their shirt sleeves by all of their volunteer work, religious ministry in the Episcopal church (after already completing long careers in academia), and their care for the homeless, the underserved, and those needing a leg up. Rita was a practicing nurse and an academic. She worked to make the nursing profession as stellar a career goal as any by her nursing practice, teaching at Washburn University and professional service. Rita and Dick are a lovely couple too with one loving daughter, Vanessa, but lots of caring and loving extended family. They were so proud of their grandson too. Rita was a pillar of the Lawrence community in every way. She was a shining example of a life well lived… a person to be admired. She will be missed by any and all she ever encountered, and that includes Bob and Beth Harrington and their four daughters. The Harrington family members offer our sincere condolences to our good friend, Dick, with whom Bob worked, both as Professors at KU, and to all who knew and loved Rita Tracy.
With Sincere Sympathy,
Robert and Beth Harrington
Rita, a professional in her own right, was also a wife and Mom as noted. In that role she became a friend to us in Lawrence, when I was a faculty member in the same department as Dick. They both were a generous and kind couple, good friends, people one could always depend on to be “there”. Although both employment and retirement have taken us to another part of the US, we count as good memories our association with Dick and Rita. May he and his family be comforted by a lifetime lived for so many others, in many different ways. Our deep condolences to Dick and the family. May Rita live in our memories as a dear friend.
Rita was a kind and caring lady with a big heart and a mission to help others. When I would meet her in the halls of LMH or out in the community, she was just such a joy to chat with. My condolences to her family and friends.
Such a sad loss. Rita was always gracious and helpful. She will be missed.
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