Rachel Ball Ditzler, 94, of 218 Aldren Ave., formerly of 92 Gordon Ave., passed away Monday, June 2, 2014, at the Lutheran Home & Rehabilitation Center.
She was born Nov. 8, 1919 in Raleigh, N.C., the daughter of the late Richard Griffin and Iola Stelle Ball. Rachel graduated from Hugh Morson High School in Raleigh, where she was elected class president during her senior year, a rare event for a girl. Rachel was the first female president in more than 40 years.
She graduated from St. Mary's Episcopal Junior College in Raleigh, and then later, American University in Washington, D.C. It was at American University that she received intensive job training for American Red Cross overseas duty, preparing her for the next chapter of her life.
Rachel served in the American Red Cross during World War II in the European Theater of Operations from 1944-46. She worked first in Devonshire, Plymouth, England. Later, she worked in Bedfordshire, England, attached to the 8th Army Air Force, and then in Marseille, France, where she lived and worked for a year. Her final duty was in Fulda, Germany.
Rachel married Lt. James S. Ditzler from Jamestown, N.Y., on Nov. 26, 1943, in Washington, D.C., while he was stationed at Fort Meade, Md. They were married by Frederick Brown Harris, chaplain of the U.S. Senate at the time.
Rachel made Jamestown her home after she and her husband returned following World War II. She committed herself to the good of the community and was active in Jamestown's civic and cultural organizations.
She was among a small group who founded the WCA Hospital Snack Shop, and enjoyed participating in the LINKS Charity Golf Tournament that benefits WCA. She also worked in the former Jamestown General Hospital Coffee House.
Rachel served on the board of the Warner Home and devoted herself tirelessly to animal welfare, serving the Chautauqua County Humane Society in different capacities.
Rachel was a parishioner of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and among a group that organized the successful St. Luke's Thrift Shop.
Her cultural and social activities include serving on the Board of the Chautauqua Opera Guild for 14 years. During her tenure, she and another member launched a successful fund raising event still used today. They also attended operas during 25 winters spent in Arizona. Rachel and her husband resided in their Chautauqua home for two years, during which time she was a member of the Bird, Tree and Garden Club, Chautauqua Women's Club, and on the Board of the Smith Memorial Library. She was a 1973 graduate of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.
Other organizations include Mozart Club, Fortnightly and Moon Brook Women's Golf Association.
She would always laugh and say her most treasured golf compliment was given to her following a putting tournament when a golf pro said, "Rachel, you are the most skillful and accurate putter in the nine-hole group."
Having an avid interest in travel, Rachel and Jim traveled worldwide and were members of the local Fine Arts Travel Society in Jamestown. They flew around the world together, took four trips to Africa including a safari, and made in-depth visits to many large cities and obscure villages on five continents.
In addition to her husband, James S. Ditzler of Jamestown, surviving is a sister, Rebecca B. Rust; a nephew, Richard (Barbara) Rustad, and three grandnieces, Elizabeth, Vera and Julia Rustad, all of Aiken, S.C. Other descendants include a son, Richard J. (Ann) Barnes Jr. of Wilson, N.C.; three grandchildren: Richard (Tyrrelle) Barnes and William (Virginia) Barnes of Raleigh, N.C., and Sherrod (John) Barnes-Ginifer of Bristol, England; and one great-granddaughter, Leighanna.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 20, 2014, in St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The Rev. Luke Fodor, rector of St. Luke's, will officiate.
Inurnment will be in the St. Luke's Church Columbarium.
Memorials may be made to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 410 N. Main St.; or the Chautauqua County Humane Society, 2825 Strunk Road, both Jamestown, NY 14701.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Rachel at www.lindfuneralhome.com.