Rita Irene Redlinger (revised – Oct 1, 2022 )
Rita Irene Redlinger, 99, of San Diego, died on Thursday September 22, 2022, at Nazareth House Assisted Living.
Rita was born on April 23, 1923 in East Pleasant Plain, Iowa, the daughter of Edward and Dorothy (Scannell) Peck. She graduated from Fairfield High School in 1941, in Fairfield IA, where she was the head drum majorette, leading the marching band as a baton twirler. Rita became the USA National Champion Baton Twirler in High School, graduating as a member of the USA National Honor Society and receiving two college scholarships for baton twirling.
As a National Baton Twirler Champion at 18, Rita traveled throughout the United States along with the US Amateur Association Women’s National Champion Basketball Team, performing her baton twirling routine at their games. While in Toronto, Canada at a benefit for the British Relief’s Victims Relief Fund with the USAA basketball team, Rita was invited by the Royal Canadian Air Force Cadet’s Marching Band to be their lead drum major, performing with, and leading the marching band. She was the first female to lead the British Empire Band.
After moving to Los Angeles, CA in 1942, Rita became a professional model, then worked as an executive secretary during the war at Douglas Aircraft (Boeing) in Los Angeles, CA. She left L.A. to marry Maj Matthew Redlinger Jr. on St. Patrick Day 1947. The family moved from Colorado Springs, CO back west to San Diego, CA in 1956. They were married for 58 Years before his passing on June 13, 2005.
In 1968, Rita President founded Sun-Pro of California, Inc.. She personally created the first cosmetic to have combined sun protection and premature wrinkling protection in a multipurpose cosmetic, along with other products. Sun-Pro of California is a family-owned business and its products are still marketed today. Rita was one of the first women to have been selected as a member of the Board of the U.S. Business Administration Advisory Council.
She was a member of the St. Didacus Alter Society, the Miramar Memorial Women’s Golf Club, the Navy North Women’s Golf Club, and the Republican Party’s Women’s Federation Organization.
Rita was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother. She was preceded in death by her husband Matthew John Redlinger, Jr., her daughters, Susan (Jorgensen) and Joanne (McMahon), and grandsons, John Jorgensen and Thomas Redlinger. Rita is survived by her 4 children, Matthew John Redlinger III (Lisa Mach) of Carlsbad, CA, Col. Mark (LeAnn) Redlinger of Lake Ridge, VA, and Katherine (Stan) Zubel and Kurt (Anne) Redlinger of San Diego, CA, 17 grandchildren of which two are deceased, and 10 great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Sister of Nazareth.