Rita Highbaugh Obituary, Death – Rita Kaye Highbaugh, 72, of Elizabethtown passed away at her home on Friday, November 18, 2022. Ottis and Faye Highbaugh welcomed her into the world on October 28, 1950, in Bonnieville. Rita earned her high school diploma from Munfordville in 1968. Her undergraduate studies at Western Kentucky University led to her 1972 bachelor’s degree. She traveled to Washington, D.C., after receiving her degree from Western, and started working for Sen. Marlow Cook thereafter serving as an intern there during the college summers. From 1972 to 1974, she was employed by Sen. Cook. Later, she worked for Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. She participated in several national campaigns as a political advisor. In 1981, she graduated with her Juris Doctor from the Potomac School of Law.
Rita left her position in government to join Cellular One as vice president of marketing when the company was just getting started in the Washington, D.C., area. As she started to promote cellular services, she toured the entire nation. From 1973 to 1993, Rita was a very active pitcher in fastpitch softball in Washington, D.C. She participated in seven national competitions as a pitcher and took home four Central Atlantic Championships. She won numerous most valuable pitcher accolades, and all-tournament teams, and tossed three no-hitters. She oversaw the East Coast Travel League as commissioner, and in 1998, she was inducted into the Greater Washington Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame. She worked as an ASA umpire in Washington, D.C., for 20 years.
In 1994, Rita relocated to Elizabethtown and started working as a social studies teacher at Central Hardin. She served as the Y Club’s advisor for many years, helping it grow into a vibrant organization. 2018 saw the induction of Rita into the Kentucky YMCA Advisor Hall of Fame. She completed her Rank I while working as a teacher at Central while earning her Master’s in Education from Western in 1997. In 2017, Rita decided to stop instructing at Central.
Rita adored athletics at Central Hardin as well as softball. She introduced the area to her understanding of fastpitch softball. As fastpitch was just getting started in the region, she worked as an umpire and mentored many pitchers there. She coached fastpitch softball for Central Hardin as an assistant and head coach, serving as head coach in 2004 when they won their first regional title. Additionally, she had a significant role in the start of volleyball at Central Hardin, where she worked as an assistant coach from the sport’s inception in 2000 till the present. For many years, she ran the girls’ and boys’ basketball clocks at Central Hardin.
Rita used to attend Bonnieville Baptist Church, where she converted to Christianity. She was presently a Severns Valley Baptist Church member. She liked discussing sports and politics. She was pleased to be a Colonel from Kentucky. She enjoyed playing cards with her Central Hardin friends, but her family was what she cherished most. Her mother, Faye Caswell Highbaugh, her young brother, Michael Ray Highbaugh, and her grandparents, Thurman and Addie Highbaugh and Chester and Lettie Caswell, predeceased her.
She is survived by her father, Ottis Highbaugh; two sisters, Benita (Terry) Buckles and Shirley (Richard) Haslar, both of Elizabethtown; a brother, Tim Highbaugh, of Munfordville; and six nieces and nephews whom she adored, including Sean (Vicky) Young of Bowling Green, Chris (Lynn) Young of Elizabethtown, Kasey (Matthew Blazejewski) Buckles of South Bend She also had ten great-nieces and great-nephews: Zack, Gavan, Isaac, Logan, Myla, Luke, Lofton Fish, Elliana, Emery, and Aria Highbaugh. She adored seeing and hearing about their numerous activities. She was like a mother to her loyal and close friend Judy Judy. Two aunts, as well as a number of cousins, survive her as well.
On Wednesday, November 23, at 2 p.m., a funeral service will be held at the Brown Funeral Home in Elizabethtown. Brother Mike Bell will officiate. It is then interred in Bonnieville’s Memory Park Cemetery. The funeral home will be open for visitation on Tuesday from 3 to 8 p.m. and again at noon on Wednesday.