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Published: Tuesday, 12/3/2002

Red Cross volunteer was `lady of fashion'

Cornelia Dora Rittenhouse, who supervised thousands of Red Cross volunteers in the 1960s and who was known for her world travels and fashion sense, died in her sleep yesterday at a Naples, Fla., retirement home. She was 93. No cause of death was known.

A native of Ionia, Mich., Mrs. Rittenhouse was a graduate of Scott High School in Toledo, attended Lake Erie College, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a liberal arts degree in 1931. She married David Rittenhouse, an automobile dealer, in June, 1933. He later became president of the Toledo Board of Education.

She volunteered for many local organizations and joined the Toledo chapter of the American Red Cross in 1953. She was named chairman of the local chapter's Gray Ladies in 1960, overseeing 160 volunteers, and in 1962 was appointed to the board of trustees and chairman of volunteers, supervising thousands of Red Cross helpers.

In addition, Mrs. Rittenhouse was an active volunteer with the Girl Scouts and Brownie organizations, the United Appeal, the Toledo Hospital Women's Auxiliary, the American Association of University Women, and the Toledo Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma sorority.

She was a member of the Toledo Club, Belmont Country Club, and First Congregational Church in Toledo, and the Royal Poinciana Club in Naples.

In 1961, The Toledo Times named Mrs. Rittenhouse its “Lady of Fashion.”

“She was a very warm, loving person with a great sense of humor,” said her daughter, Linda Kazazian of Rancho Mirage, Calif. “She always dressed impeccably but her beauty was not just on the surface. She was a lady in the best sense of the word.”

The Rittenhouses took their four daughters on many foreign trips, Mrs. Kazazian said, including visits to Austria, the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India, where they saw the Taj Mahal.

“Both mom and dad wanted us to be aware of the world and to see that the world was comprised of other than just our small little community,” Mrs. Kazazian said.

Mrs. Rittenhouse was an avid bridge player, took up golf in her 60s, and enjoyed boating and many other outdoor activities, her daughter said.

“She was a very active woman. My parents loved their bridge and played every Monday. They loved the mental challenge,” Mrs. Kazazian said.

Mr. Rittenhouse, who owned and operated several auto dealerships in Toledo and Maumee, was elected to the Toledo Board of Education in 1962. He became its president in 1964 and was elected to the Ohio Board of Education in 1972. He died in 1985 at age 73.

“Family was extremely important to my parents,” Mrs. Kazazian said. “Probably one of the most beneficial things they both did was bring up four daughters who love each other and get along.”

Surviving are daughters, Barbara Glowacki, Linda Kazazian, Susan Rittenhouse, and Sally Allison; eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

A private burial service will be held Jan. 11 at Ottawa Hills Memorial Park. The family requests tributes to Hospice of Naples, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, Fla., 43105, or a charity of the donor's choice.



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