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Rita Simon Sheely               Inducted 2020* - Class of 1978

Rita Simon Sheely was born into a Woodward family, proudly following in the footsteps of her mother and eight siblings in becoming a Polar Bear. Her compassionate and caring spirit began early in life, continued throughout her time at Woodward, and  beyond. A hardworking student, Rita was in the Top Ten of her class,  played volleyball all four years, and was selected as Saga Editor by her advisor and    mentor, Mr. Dan Duvendack. She was involved in several activities at WHS, including Honor Society, Class Officer, Boosters Club, Interclub Council, Student Council, Business Education Clubs, and more. The faculty chose Rita to receive Woodward’s highest honor, the Tattler Achievement Cup.


After graduation, Rita began her 34 year career at Columbia Gas while attending The University of     Toledo.  Throughout her career at Columbia Gas, she successfully rose through the ranks to management in Engineering Technology.

Rita’s love for volleyball continued to play an important role in her life, playing and coaching in   numerous leagues. She was Toledo’s Volleyball Commissioner and received the CYO Adult Leader Contributor Award for her many accomplishments.


After Rita’s passing in 2012, her family, in recognition and in honor of her compassion and giving, created the Rita T. Simon Sheely Ovarian Cancer Research Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center. Thus far, the family has raised over $2 million. Her family has also established the Rita T. Simon Sheely Scholarship, awarded annually to a worthy WHS senior girl.


Rita is survived by her husband Jim, daughter Kristen, son Jameson, her loving family, and dear friends. 

*Induction Ceremony postponed until October 2021 due to the pandemic

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