- The Washington Times - Friday, January 21, 2005

Gail C. Rittgers, 102, volunteer

Gail Courtney Rittgers, a resident of Alexandria for 47 years, died Jan. 16 at her home. She was 102.

Born July 30, 1902, in Clarksville, Iowa, she spent her early years in Clarksville and Omaha, Neb. In her teens, she moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She graduated from Washington High School in 1921 and Coe College in 1925.

Later that year, she married fellow student Forest Sheldon Rittgers and accompanied him to Centerville, Iowa, where he was a high school coach. They returned to Cedar Rapids in 1929.

During the 1930s, Mrs. Rittgers was a freelance magazine writer. A collection of her articles was published as a book in 1936.

After her husband’s call to active duty in 1940, she and her family accompanied him on military assignments to the District, Alabama, Georgia, New York, Japan and Hong Kong. In 1957, they chose Alexandria as their retirement home.

Mrs. Rittgers volunteered with the American Red Cross during World War II and with a number of Alexandria organizations in later years.

She was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, serving on the vestry and as a Sunday school teacher. She was also a member of Chi Omega sorority and PEO.

Her husband, a retired Army colonel, died in 1980.

She is survived by a sister, Beth Courtney Miller of Manchester, Iowa; two sons, Forest S. Rittgers Jr. of Schenectady, N.Y., and Courtney M. Rittgers of El Paso, Texas; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Tuesday at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria. She will be buried following the service at Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband.

Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Episcopal Church, Army Emergency Relief or Capital Hospice.

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