Dr. Rita Sutherland Purdy, 77, of Woodway TX, passed away Saturday, November 24, 2018. A Memorial Service will be 1:00 pm, Saturday, December 1, 2018, with Rev. Erin Conaway officiating, at Grace Gardens Funeral Home, 8220 Woodway Drive, Waco, Texas 76712.  A reception with the family will follow the service.

Rita was born Rita Jo Sutherland on April 18, 1941 in Richlands, VA to Nettie and Henry Sutherland of Clintwood, VA. Rita received her undergraduate degree in Clothing and Textiles from Virginia Tech, where she met her husband of 54 years, Jim. Rita went on to get her Master’s Degree in Clothing and Textiles from University of Tennessee and then returned to Virginia Tech to complete her Doctorate.

Rita was a professor and served as Dean of Undergraduate Programs for the College of Human Resources at Virginia Tech. She went on to become Chairwoman for Family and Consumer Sciences at Baylor University in Waco, TX where she also continued as a professor. Upon her retirement, she was honored with the Professor Emeritus designation by Baylor University.

Rita loved to teach and truly excelled at her profession earning numerous teaching excellence awards at both Universities. She served as a model and inspiration to the thousands of students she advised and taught. In 1999, she was also named Texas leader of the year in Family and Consumer Sciences.

She was an active member of the Seventh and James Church, belonged to the Baylor Senior Adult Choir and worked with various other charities and civic organizations.

Rita is preceded in death by her parent-in-laws, Walter and Juanita Purdy of Ravenswood, WV.

Rita is survived and lovingly remembered by her husband, Jim; son Jay of Blacksburg, VA; son David, along with daughter-in-law Kristi and 2 grandsons, Joshua and Daniel of Centreville, VA; and son Jonathan of Charlotte, NC. Rita will also forever be remembered by the numerous students she taught over her career, her colleagues and friends.

Those wishing to remember Rita in a meaningful and lasting way are encouraged to donate to the Sutherland-Purdy Endowed Scholarship at the Virginia Tech Foundation in Blacksburg, VA