Rita Marie (Cillessen) Rinkenbaugh, 98, passed away on March 25, 2023 at Coffeyville Regional Medical Center surrounded by her very close family.
Rita was born November 3, 1924 at home in Coffeyville to George H. and Mary (Molly) Cillessen. She spent most of her childhood days in Coffeyville. She attended Holy Name Catholic School, Roosevelt Junior High and Field Kindley Memorial High School, graduating in 1942. She graduated from St. Edwards Mercy School of Nursing in Fort Smith, AR, and returned to Coffeyville to begin her storied nursing career. She married Floyd J. Rinkenbaugh on June 21, 1952 at Holy Name Catholic Church, attended by her brother-in-law, Bernard Boehm, and sister, Betty Cillessen. Floyd died in 1985.
Rita’s nursing career began at the Southeast Kansas Hospital, pre-dating the Coffeyville Memorial Hospital, where she started as a staff nurse and was promoted to superintendent. She was named Director of Nursing at the “Old Southeast” as the new hospital was being staffed. Rita was then office nurse for J.D. McMillian M.D. before starting her family. Rita was the first nurse for the Head Start program when it was initiated in Coffeyville in 1966. She spent time at various nursing positions at SEK ap, Wm. T. Read, M.D., and Coffeyville Memorial Hospital in CCU, O.B. and as the Director of Nursing. She started the CRMC Home Health program in 1985. Rita retired from CRMC in 1986. In 1994, Rita was the first female inducted into the CRMC Hall of Fame. A bronze plaque is displayed at the hospital as testimony to her exemplary nursing career.
Rita was very active in the Coffeyville community and in Holy Name Catholic Church and School. She sat on the Kansas State Board of Nursing, the SEK Vocational-Technical Advisory Board, and District III of Kansas State Nursing Association. She volunteered in a number of organizations including Hospice, Matinee Musical and Searchlight. For years, she organized and led the Red Cross Blood Mobile drives, personally calling for volunteers and donors. She made communion calls to shut-ins, was the Health Chairman of Holy Name School PTA, a member of St. Teresa Circle of the Holy Name Altar Society. Rita was an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She initiated the local chapter of Faith and Light to assist those with intellectual disabilities and their friends and families.
Rita loved to sew and was an avid football and baseball fan but the hobbies and interests that meant the most to her were volunteering to help others, sharing her professionalism, faith and family.
Rita is survived by five of her seven children: John (Diane), Collinsville, OK, William (Bill) (Teri), El Dorado, KS, Robert (Tammi), Mary Ann (Craig) Dreiling, Wichita, KS, Rita (Mike) Taylor, Independence, KS and daughter-in-law, Sandi (Joe), Wann, OK, 23 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and their families.
Rita was preceded in death by her parents George and Mary Cillessen, husband Floyd, son Joe, and daughter Susan; her siblings, Josephine (Jo) Ruzicka, Mary Eshelman, Francis Cillessen, Betty Farrell, William Cillessen, Jeroma (Jerry) Boehm, and Sister Mary Blaise Cillessen, O.S.B.
The Rosary will be prayed at 7 PM, Thursday, March 30th, at Holy Name Catholic Church, 408 Willow St. in Coffeyville, KS.
The Mass of Christian Burial celebrating Rita’s faith-filled life will be celebrated Friday, March 31st, at 11 AM at Holy Name Catholic Church with internment following at Calvary Cemetery, all officiated by Father James Schibi.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 30th from 9 – 5 at David W. Barnes Funeral Home in Coffeyville.
Memorials can be made to Holy Name Catholic Church, the American Red Cross or CRMC, contributions may be left with or mailed in care of David W. Barnes Funeral Home, 306 North Cline Road, Coffeyville, KS 67337.
To leave a message for the family please visit www.dwbfh.com.
David W. Barnes Funeral home of Coffeyville is in charge of arrangement