Cover photo for Dr. Rita Jane Schnipke's Obituary
Dr. Rita Jane Schnipke Profile Photo
1952 Rita 2024

Dr. Rita Jane Schnipke

May 25, 1952 — May 25, 2024

Franklin, Tennessee

Dr. Rita Schnipke, a cherished daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, and friend gracefully completed her earthly journey on May 25, 2024.  She was a beacon of love and inspiration to all who knew her.  Born on May 25,1952 to Joe Schnipke and Aggie Monak, Rita grew up surrounded by the love of her family in Sandusky, Ohio.   She brought joy to their lives with her warmth, intelligence and unwavering faith.  

Rita never married, but her life was blessed with a beautiful daughter, Yvonne Okyere Patton (husband Jerry Patton), who brought immense joy and pride to her heart.   Alongside her daughter, Rita found her greatest fulfillment in the roles of grandmother and great-grandmother.   Her love knew no bounds as she poured her heart into nurturing and guiding her grandchildren and great-grandchildren:  Joel and Brianna Okaah, Nemuel and Dominique Okaah, and Sharon Okaah, and their children Cannon, Lenna, Micah, Jovie and Shae Okaah.

Rita was a pillar of strength within her family, supported by her siblings: Fran Leal, Gene Schnipke, Vern Schnipke, Joanne Lilje, Jackie Gundrum, Debbie Schmid, Drew Schnipke, and Alan Schnipke.  She shared special bonds with her numerous nieces & nephews and great-nieces & great-nephews, each of whom held a cherished place in her heart.

Rita’s academic journey was marked by excellence and dedication.  She graduated from Sandusky High School before earning a Bachelor of Science in Math and Physics from Heidelberg College.  Her thirst for knowledge led her to further studies, culminating in a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo and a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Throughout her esteemed career, Rita made significant contributions to the field of engineering. From her role as a Research Engineer at Babcock & Wilcox, to serving as Director of Development at Compuflo, to her tenure as the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Blue Ridge Numeric, her innovative spirit and expertise shone brightly and she was a respected Engineering Consultant.  Rita also shared her passion for learning as an Adjunct Professor at Piedmont Virginia Community College and an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. She was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

 

Rita’s professional achievements were honored with numerous awards and accolades, including:

  • Thornton Fellowship
  • Governor’s Fellowship
  • American Association of University of Women Fellowship
  • Finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Member of the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies
  • Winner of the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council Award
  • University of Toledo Distinguished Alumni
  • University of Virginia Outstanding Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Faculty


In 1998, Rita’s life was transformed when she accepted Christ into her heart. She was baptized in January 2000 at Covenant Church of God in Charlottsville, VA, where she became an active member. Rita went on to become a member of Shepherds House in Charlottsville, VA, attended Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Nolensville, TN, and was a member of The Belonging Co in Nashville, TN.  Rita actively carried out The Great Commission, always sharing her faith up until her last days.  Her missionary work in the Philippines from 2004 to 2008 was a testament to her steadfast commitment to spreading God’s love and compassion.  She volunteered with the Salvation Army, Jefferson Area Board for Aging Food Delivery, in Foster Care and with various Outreach Ministries.

Outside her professional and ministry endeavors, Rita found joy in simple pleasures and cherished moments with her loved ones. Whether playing hide and seek tag with her grandchildren or simply spending quality time with family, she radiated love, warmth, and laughter. She also loved reading and word games. Rita’s legacy of love, faith and service will continue to inspire all who were privileged to know her. Though she may no longer walk among us, her spirit will live on in the hearts of those she touched with her kindness and compassion.

Funeral Services will be conducted on Saturday, June 1st at 10 AM at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Williamson Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be on Friday from 5:00 until 7:00 PM and again on Saturday from 9:00 AM until service time at WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 615-794-2289, www.williamsonmemorial.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Alive Hospice, World Relief, and/or Matthew 25 Ministries.

As we bid farewell to Rita, we take solace in the knowledge that she has found eternal peace in the loving embrace of her Heavenly Father.  May her soul rest in blissful tranquility, and may her memory be a blessing to us all.

As beautiful as a rose to see, was her life she lived so gracefully. She made things precious by her touch. Her selfless love lives on in each of use. The petals of her life fell one by one, each a gift of her heart. ‘Til there were none

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Rita Jane Schnipke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, May 31, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service

3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Saturday, June 1, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service

3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service

3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

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