Rhein Center says goodbye to Co-Directors, the Witteborgs

Posted on August 21, 2013

The C. Kirk Rhein, Jr., Center for the Living Arts bids a fond farewell to Co-Directors Richard and Shirley Witteborg, who are retiring at the end of this season. The Witteborgs joined the Rhein Center in January of 2011, making this summer their third Chautauqua season.

As Co-Directors of the Rhein Center, the Witteborgs were responsible for recruiting more than 130 volunteer teachers who served approximately 6,000 students each summer. On Sunday afternoons, the couple organized a volunteer crew and registered more than 400-500 students for the upcoming week’s classes.

Richard and Shirley brought a combined 60 years of education experience to the Rhein Center. Richard served as chairman of the art department and Shirley was a high school English teacher. Both served in the Defiance City Schools.

Richard went on to serve 17 summers at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, where he performed tasks in all the artisan areas. During retirement, Shirley worked for a local law office.

During their time at the Rhein Center, the facility received new tables, new flooring, additional materials and equipment, including a professional lampwork bead studio, and outside classrooms were created this year to allow for more workspace.

Lakeside has been a vacation spot for the Witteborg family for the past 25 years. It was not until the summer of 2010 that the couple began volunteering their time as teachers at the Rhein Center. They taught classes from miniature cottage building and stitching cards to building pine cone and acorn figures.

After the 2010 season, when Director Juliann Breting Rohn planned to move on, the position presented itself as a perfect fit for the Witteborgs. They were gracious and appreciated the offer of becoming Co-Directors together.

While they are still appreciative of the opportunity to direct a vibrant arts program, they believe it is their time to move on. Their hopes are that the next director(s) take the Rhein Center to the next level at its full potential.

The Witteborgs will miss and always remember the many, wonderful volunteers, staff and advisory board.

Shirley states, “They were always so generous and stood behind us each season.”

Richard and Shirley are looking forward to traveling with friends and family, resting and spending more time together.

Lakeside Chautauqua would like to thank Richard and Shirley Witteborg for their kindness and dedication to the Rhein Center the past three Chautauqua seasons. Under their leadership, the organization of the Rhein Center improved and new class offerings were added. The community and administration wish them the best.