Rita (Weixlebaum) Traynor, age 95, of Grand Rapids MI, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2022. She was born in the Bronx, NY and after marrying her husband, Carl Traynor, at the age of 27 moved to Ohio and later to Michigan. Carl passed away at the young age of 52, leaving Rita and her two daughters Amy and Judy far too early. Rita was always thankful that Carl supported her dream of being a teacher, something she always knew she wanted to be but she wasn’t able to earn her college degree until the age of 45 by going to school part-time in the evenings at the University of Michigan - Dearborn. She started her career in education as a fourth grade teacher at Orchard Hills Elementary in Novi and went on to become the district’s assistant superintendent of instruction during her 31-year career with Novi Schools. While working full-time for Novi, Rita continued to attend classes in the evenings earning her master’s degree from Oakland University in 1976 and ultimately her doctorate of education degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor at the age of 64. She was passionate about her job, Novi schools and the kids she served. Rita was also a strong supporter of the public library system, volunteering on many committees in both Novi and Grand Rapids where she moved after retiring at the age of 77. Rita was a voracious reader and avid traveler and shared her love of both books and travel with her daughters and grandchildren, even taking all of them on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate her 80th birthday together. She moved from Novi to Grand Rapids after her retirement and remained active well into her late 80’s as a volunteer for the Cascade Friends of the Library, the knitting service club of Forest Hills Presbyterian, Frederick Meijer Gardens, Opera Grand Rapids, the Women’s City Club, and the Grand Rapids Chapter of P.E.O. In addition to her husband Carl, Rita was also preceded in death by her oldest daughter Judy (Traynor) Keagle. Despite any challenge, Rita continued to be a role model of resilience and strength for all who knew her. She will be lovingly remembered by her surviving daughter Amy (Greg) Cammell of Grand Rapids, MI and her grandchildren, Brendon (Krystal) Keagle of Elkhart, IN; Max (Haley) Keagle of Elkhart, IN; Kate Cammell of Brooklyn, NY and Will Cammell of Grand Rapids. She is also survived by four great-grandchildren Daisy, Henrik, Georgia and Elinor Keagle and her sister, Marian Misad of Larchmont, New York. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 26th at 2:30 pm at Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 4291 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Visitation will be held from 1 to 2:30 pm just prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation in Rita’s memory to either the Cascade Friends of the Library, 2870 Jacksmith Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546; the Novi Community Library 45255 W 10 Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48375; Holy Family Church 24505 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48375 or Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, 7495 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
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Friends of Cascade Library
2870 Jacksmith Ave. SE, Grand Rapids MI 49546
Forest Hills Presbyterian Church
7495 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids MI 49546
Novi Community Library
45255 Ten Mile Road, Novi, Michigan 48375, Novi MI 48375
Holy Family Parish
24505 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi MI 48375