Rita Anne (Schmidley) Jaffe
Aug. 13, 1917 — March 25, 2016

Rita Anne (Schmidley) Jaffe went home to be with her Lord in heaven on March 25, 2016, in Appleton.

Rita was born in Fond du Lac on Aug. 13, 1917, to Francis and Edna (Nichols) Schmidley. She graduated from high school at age 16 and went on to become an executive secretary, a career she enjoyed for many years. She worked at the State Capitol in Madison, where she met her future husband, Philip Jaffe, who was working for his grandfather, state Sen. Harry Bolens. The couple were married on June 10, 1939, and remained together for 55 years until Philip’s death in 1994.

Rita was always active in some type of sport. From playing sports in high school, to teaching her children to play tennis, she was very competitive. She enjoyed cross country skiing and loved yoga. She was a member of the YWCA in Waukesha, where she swam, lifted weights and worked out on a regular basis after she retired.

She took up bicycling at age 60 and was a member of the Spring City Spinners bicycle club in Waukesha.

Rita was always proud of the fact, that she biked nearly 30,000 miles in her 20-plus years of riding. She rode 75 miles on her 75th birthday, and was featured in an article in the newspaper. After Philip’s death, Rita enjoyed traveling to many exotic places and countries, and loved to tell about riding a camel in Egypt. Her zest for life never dimmed, even when her eyesight began to fail.

Rita also loved to read, listen to music, especially classical; and work crossword puzzles. She was an avid Milwaukee baseball fan, attending many Braves games and later the Brewers. She also enjoyed traveling to Arizona for spring training. Rita also loved the Packers and rarely missed watching a game on TV.

Rita is survived by her 8 children, Suzanne Bolens of Chicago, Ellen (Ray) Fischer of Emery, S.D., Phyllis Crowley of Appleton, Mary Lou (Steve) Kaines of Spring Valley, Calif., Nancy (Robert) Haendel of Bradenton, Fla., William (Nancy) Jaffe of West Lafayette, Ind., Paul Jaffe of Appleton, and Lois Patterson (Tim Gaffney) of North Freedom. She is also survived by 15 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She is further survived by a sister, Bernadette Perszyk of Mesa, Ariz.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Philip; her siblings, Francis Schmidley, Margaret Schmidley, Rosemary Riederer, and Priscilla Marshall. She was also preceded in death by a son-in-law, Francis Crowley; and a great-grandson Patrick Baumkirchner Jr.

Rita donated her body to the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date when all her children can gather.

Her favorite prayer which hung on the wall in her kitchen: 

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.