Dr. Raymond William Stedman, Rita Eileen Stedman
Dr. Raymond William (Bill) Stedman, 84, and Rita Eileen (Manning) Stedman, 87, of Willow Street, PA, passed away on September 24 and August 28, 2014, respectively.
Bill was born on June 8, 1930 in Rochester, PA to the late Raymond H. and Marie L. (Sewall) Stedman. He spent his early childhood in Rochester. His father died when he was a young boy and his mother subsequently married Frederick M. Smith. The family settled in Ellwood City, PA where Bill was then raised. He graduated from Ellwood City High School in 1948 where he was active in dramatic arts and service clubs. He graduated from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, with a BA in Speech and Radio in 1952. He was the founder and first president of the school’s Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity.
He received his MA in Telecommunication from the University of Southern California in 1953 and was the first person to receive a Doctorate in Communication from USC in 1959. Bill worked as the Assistant to the President of USC from 1952-62 as well as a lecturer in telecommunications and administrator of educational broadcasting. In addition, he was the producer and host of “Trojan Digest”, a recognized educational weekly radio program from 1956-62. He also produced cultural TV for KNXT-CBS Los Angeles from 1960-61 and was a special writer for Armed Forces Radio. He was a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
After leaving USC, Bill taught at the University of Florida, Rollins College, and Nassau Community College, NY. In 1965 he became a professor of English and Chair of the Communications Department at Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA until his retirement in 1988.
Bill was an accomplished author of The Serials: Suspense and Drama by Installment, 1971, A Guide to Public Speaking, 1971 and Shadows of the Indian: Stereotypes in American Culture, 1982, as well as numerous articles on the history of the American Indian. He continued writing almost every day for as long as he could and was able to publish The Movie Serial Companion, I and II, as well as The B Picture Chronicles, I,II and III, between 2009-12.
He served in the United States Army Reserves from 1954-67 and rose to the rank of first lieutenant.
Rita was born May 31, 1927 on Franklin Avenue in Ellwood City, PA, to the late William D. and Lois Manning. As a child, she attended YWCA, was a Girl Scout, and enjoyed Shirley Temple movies, as well as playing with her rabbit Penelope. She helped form the first Rainbow Girls chapter in New Castle, PA as the Worthy Associate Advisor.
She worked for JCPenney and graduated from Ellwood City High school in 1945. She attended Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA, and graduated with a BS from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduation, she was employed as a dietician at Dartmouth College, NH, and then at Jamison Memorial Hospital in New Castle, PA.
Rita and Bill’s families had been friends for many years and the couple reconnected as adults. They married in Los Angeles, California, in 1959 where they resided before moving to Florida, and then Long Island, New York. After settling in Newtown, PA, they raised their three children: Eric R. of Newtown, Craig W. of Lititz, PA, and Erin L. (Ford) of Shamong, NJ.
They always vacationed in Ocean City, NJ and bought a summer home there in 1985. In 1993, they sold their Newtown home of 28 years and moved to Ocean City year round. They celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary there in 2013.
In early 2014, they faced increasing health issues and moved to Willow Valley Retirement Community, Lancaster County, PA, to receive the care they needed and be near their son Craig.
Both were lifetime members of the Presbyterian Church.
Bill is remembered as thoughtful and kind, as well as a highly intelligent scholar who was interested in a vast array of subjects to include old time radio, television and film, as well as language, religion, children’s literature, and history, especially of early America and the old west. He was a lifelong supporter of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers and watched every game.
Rita is remembered as a very generous and devoted mother, wife, grandmother and neighbor who did all she could to make people around her comfortable and happy. She was well-known for making pear pies and baking for friends and guests, then wondering why she would have such frequent company.
They are survived by their three children and their grandchildren: Connor and Daniel Ford, as well as Ryan and Samantha Stedman of Lititz, PA. She is also survived by her brother, William Manning. She is preceded in death by her sister Marie Jones.