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Rita Joanne Hunter Ennis went to be with her Lord and Savior peacefully on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 surrounded by her family. Rita was born on July 28, 1944 in Mechanicsburg, PA to the late James Evans and Pearl Elizabeth Kitzmiller Hunter. She graduated from Cumberland Valley High School in Camp Hill, PA in 1962. Rita graduated from York Hospital School of Nursing in 1965 where she was awarded the Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence. Florence Nightingale once said, “Nursing is a noble profession, but it is up to nurses to make it noble!” Others have also suggested that nursing is an art — in fact, the “finest of the fine arts.”
Rita worked in several hospitals for over 50 years as a critical care nurse in the Coronary Care Unit and Intensive Care Unit. In 2014 at the age of 70, she retired from Rowan Regional Hospital after 30+ years of service. Rita held the National Certification in Critical Care and Progressive Care Nursing, and in 2002, was awarded “The GREAT 100 Nurses of North Carolina.”
In addition to her parents, Rita was preceded in death by her brother and sister-in-law, Larry Evans and Mary Louise Jumper Hunter. She is survived by her husband of fifty-four years, George Keene Ennis, of Salisbury; her four children and their spouses, Robin Ennis Fisher and husband Steven Fisher of Salisbury, Kristin Ennis Meehan and husband Dennis Meehan of Charlotte, Keena Ennis Chung and husband Peter Chung of Austin, TX, and George Keene Ennis II and wife Cristina Ennis of Raleigh. Rita is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Banks, Max and Jack Fisher of Salisbury; Jack, James and Caroline Meehan of Charlotte; Vivienne and Trevor Chung of Austin; and Elin and Emilia Ennis of Raleigh.
Rita was a life-long member of Shiloh Reformed Church of Faith in Faith, NC where she was a member of the Women’s Circle Two and the Old Testament Sunday School Class. She enjoyed playing canasta and in her retirement years traveling with her husband, close friends, and friends from The Gables community. Rita loved attending all of her grandchildren’s school and sporting events on soccer and baseball fields, basketball courts, and swimming pools and traveled often to Sacred Heart Catholic School, Salisbury High School, Riverbend Christian School, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, St. Gabriel Catholic School, Charlotte Catholic, UNC-Charlotte and Furman University to cheer them on. She was sad to not have made it to Clemson University, UNC-Wilmington, and University of CA – Berkley to see her grandsons play.
Due to coronavirus precautions, a private family service was held on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at Shiloh Reformed Church of Faith conducted by Pastor Richard Myers. A Celebration of Life will be held for friends and attentional family in June.
The family expresses gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Jimmy Ruiz of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Comprehensive Cancer Center, the nurses and doctors of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Coronary Care Unit, the ICU at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, and Dr. Doug Shellhorn of Rowan Diagnostic Clinic.
As an expression of sympathy, the family requests in lieu of flowers that memorial gifts be made to support Lung Cancer Clinical Care and Research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center at the Philanthropy and Alumni Affairs Office, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, P.O. Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1021, designating that your gift is in loving memory of Rita Ennis to ensure that your gift will be directed to support the work of Dr. Jimmy Ruiz. Online gifts can be made here:
Additionally, memorial gifts can be made to Shiloh Reformed Church of Faith at P.O. Box 308, Faith, NC 28041.