Rhoda Pitkis Osterneck, long-time Durham resident, died Friday evening at her home.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, “Mrs. O” as she was affectionately known by her family and friends was the daughter of the late Harry and Minnie Forscher Pitkis. She attended the Philadephia schools, and also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She had been employed with Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia a number of years ago, and was also a loving homemaker being a devoted wife, mother and daughter.
Mrs. O and her late husband, Robert M. Osterneck, moved to Durham in 1976. They were avid supporters of the University of North Carolina. She acquired the name of “The Ram Lady” always attending games accompanied by her stuffed Rameses doll. That tradition began at Carmicheal Auditorium in the late seventies and she continued on the front row of the Smith Center until her passing. She was one of the first persons to purchase season tickets for women's basketball and was a faithful fan of their games. Her home was a living monument to the University of North Carolina, painted Carolina blue and white, adorned with a collection of Tarheel memorabelia and an in ground pool the shape of a Tarheel footprint. The Osternecks were Life Members of the Ram's Club and established five scholorships for student athletes, the Bob Osterneck memorial football scholorship, Rhoda Osterneck football scholorship, Harry Pitkis memorial wrestling scholorship and a scholorship for women's volleyball.
She was a member of Judea Reform Congregation, was a founding member of Chapel Hill Hadassah and a contributor to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem Israel.
Surviving are two sons. Steven DeCillis and wife Whitney of Oxford and Andrew Dinkin and wife Leslie of Charlotte, six grandchildren, Thomas Matthew DeCillis, Drew Dinkin, Jayme Dinkin, David Taylor, Adam Taylor, and Jayne Taylor, and a brother-in-law, Myles Osterneck, of Maui, Hawaii. Her husband died in 1991.
Graveside funeral services will be conducted Sunday at 4:00 PM in Judea Reform Congregation Cemetery, Rabbi John Friedman officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rams Club, the Rhoda Osterneck Memorial, P.O. Box 2446, Chapel Hill, NC 27515, or to the Chapel Hill Hadassah, C/o Treasurer, 104 Oak Spring Ct., Carrboro, NC 27510
The family will receive friends following the graveside service at her home, 4114 Trotters Ridge Road.
Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home is assisting the Osterneck family.