Rita Ann Frantz, 68, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Rita was the Kelting Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa.
Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at Newman Catholic Student Center, Iowa City, with Father Steven Witt and Father Ed Fitzpatrick concelebrating. The family will greet friends at the Newman Center starting at 10 a.m. before the Mass. A luncheon will follow the memorial service.
Rita was born Dec. 14, 1947, in Davenport, Iowa, the daughter of Roy C. and Mary M. (Looney) Farren. She grew up on an Iowa farm 20 miles north of Davenport. The experiences of farm life influenced the development of her character and values. It was in this setting that she first learned to respect the precious nature of life and to understand the importance of the environment.
From a very early age, Rita recognized the importance of education and credits her parents and teachers with instilling that value. By the time she reached high school, Rita knew she wanted her academic path to reach beyond undergraduate studies. Rita received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Marycrest College. She received her master's degree in medical-surgical nursing from the University of Iowa. She joined the faculty of the College of Nursing in 1972 and was awarded her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Iowa in 1977.
Rita was a professor at the College of Nursing for 44 years. Rita stepped down from her position as dean on Sept. 6, 2016, marking the conclusion of a long and distinguished career. For anyone who met her, it was immediately apparent that her passion for nursing translated into remarkable, visionary leadership.
Rita's professional career spanned three decades as an educator, leader and researcher in wound healing. She was recognized nationally and internationally for her work in pressure ulcer treatment and prevention. As an extension of this work, Rita served as a member of multiple government and professional expert panels. She worked collaboratively with practitioners in Iowa and across the nation to promote the transfer of research-based practice to care for elderly populations at risk for pressure ulcers.
Rita was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau. She was a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and had received the Collegiate Teaching Award at the University of Iowa. Rita was serving as president on the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, a position she had held since 1997.
Rita often described observing the professional growth and accomplishments of the college's students, faculty and staff as the most satisfying aspect of her work, emphasizing that this kind of academic enrichment and professional advancement was a "team effort" that required the contributions of everyone in the college.
Rita was a tireless worker on behalf of nursing, a kindhearted person who had unwavering dedication to her students and colleagues. She was personally kind, hardworking and humble; a person of unquestionable integrity with an endearing laugh. Her wisdom, enthusiasm and leadership will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the University of Iowa Foundation for the Rita and David Frantz Endowed Chair in the College of Nursing.
Rita is survived by her loving husband, David, with whom she shared 45 years; her brother, Thomas E. Farren of Eldridge; brothers- and sister-in-law, Joseph (Mary) Frantz and Rita (Steve) Decker, both of Iowa City, John (Sherry) Frantz of Hills and Marilyn (William "Bill") Kruse of Grandview; nieces, nephews and many friends.
Online condolences may be directed to www.lensingfuneral.com.