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Rita F. Schmalz


Rita Frances Langan Schmalz, 95, of Marble Cliff, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her family and devoted caregivers, on Sunday, February 23, 2020.

Born July 10, 1924 in Dixon, Illinois, she was the second daughter in a family of four of the late Edward Langan and Frances Kennedy Langan. Post graduation from Dixon High School, Rita worked at the Green River Ordinance plant, a supplier of WWII munitions.  After the war she traveled to Columbus, Ohio with two girl friends planning to go on to Florida. During their stop-over in Columbus, she met the love of her life, her late husband (February 27, 2002),  Hellmuth Joseph (Joe) Schmalz, professional bass player and scale man (Fuller Scale Company). Rita decided to remain in Columbus, and obtained employment as a Customer Service Representative with “The Fashion” – a downtown women’s dress shop. Rita appreciated avant-garde, refreshing style and had a lovely flair for expressing her taste.

Rita and Joe married November 28, 1946 and began their family – the 4 K’s: Kurt, Keith, Kyle and Karl. Supportive and encouraging always, Rita was a most wonderful matriarch. She volunteered with Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church’s Altar & Rosary Society, and assisted with Camp Fire Girls while taking care of whatever projects needed handling or problems needed solving… the family could count on her.

In addition, Rita was quite a businesswoman. She obtained her real estate license and worked in sales for the Harley Rouda “HER” Realty company; then, began investing in rental property. Rita and Joe  owned and – Rita successfully managed –  “R and S Rental Service.” With proceeds from property investments, she and Joe enjoyed vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for thirty years as well as many other travels throughout the United States and abroad.

Rita thoroughly enjoyed studying art under the tutelage of Grandview teacher Joann Warnke. She expressed herself through color and design in a unique contemporary style… her paintings grace the walls of many homes.

A proponent of aerobic exercise before it became de rigueur, Rita was inspired by fitness legend Jack LaLanne. She delighted in exercising and stretching with Jack’s televised program, jumping about the family room merrily achieving an elevated heart rate. “Post-Jack” she spent many hours walking her basement treadmill while catching up on news of the day.

The Schmalz family learned to appreciate beauty in nature…. in the woods behind their Marble Cliff home the 4 K’s (and pals!) built forts and swung on vines; they were also surrounded by prolific gardener Rita’s perennials and tasteful landscape.

Rita is survived by her 4 K’s: Kurt Schmalz, Keith Stefan (Nancy),  Kyle Marie Bethel (Brad deceased 2013), Karl Schmalz (Betsy); Grandchildren: Austin Schmalz (Danielle), Bryn Bethel Osborne(Ryan), Hunter and Calley Schmalz; Great-granddaughter: Cora Schmalz; Sisters Mary Ellen Langan Stang (deceased 2000), Barbara Epler and brother, James Gregory Langan of Evanston, IL as well as many nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Special Intention will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday, March 4th at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, 1559 Roxbury Rd, Columbus, OH 43212.

A “Mini-Service ” of Thanksgiving and party celebrating Rita’s beautiful life will be held on Friday March 6th, 2020 from 5-7 pm at her home of 62 years: 1313 Arlington Avenue in Marble Cliff, OH.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The Columbus Jazz Arts Group, 400 S. Fifth St., Suite 103, Columbus, OH 43215 or The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203.

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  • Anne Scaperoth says:

    Rita was such a delightful woman. I appreciated the times we connected and talked together. She was also a good friend to my mother. I admired her many talents, her great laughter and sense of humor, and her engagement in life. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Dori Jenks says:

    We were so very lucky to have Rita as our next door neighbor. Her joie de vivre was contagious, her love of visual and performing arts ran sophisticated and deep. A self realized real estate mogul, she was generous with advice. And she was a Camp Fire Girl/ leader, an advocate for youth and outdoors. Truly a remarkable woman who leaves an indelible imprint on the hearts of many. From the Jenks-Kerr clan, we offer love and light to her family.

  • Jill Bryant says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with Rita’s family and friends.

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