Friends and colleagues in the University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemistry department are deeply saddened by the loss of Rita Warden, who died as the result of a traffic accident on the Beltline on May 29.
"She was a kind and thoughtful person who always put her heart into helping others accomplish their work tasks," says professor Brian Fox, who worked with Warden on a daily basis.
A long-time campus employee, Warden played a key role on the department's administrative team, providing assistance to faculty members with very active research and teaching programs.
"Rita was instrumental in the yearly effort to produce the manual used for the undergraduate laboratory course in Biochemistry," Fox says. "She was adept in maneuvering through UW policies and procedures supporting grant preparation, manuscript submissions, travel reimbursements, intellectual property disclosures, and many other topics."
Warden was equally willing to apply her many talents outside of her work assignments, he adds. She was a skilled artist who contributed many watercolors to departmental art exhibits. She also greatly enjoyed music, teaching piano lessons, and playing in her church.
In recent years, Warden opted to work half time so that she could serve as a reading tutor for young students with dyslexia at the Walbridge School and pursue a degree in teaching English as a second language.
"She took great joy in these activities," Fox says. "Her unwavering focus on helping others is the shining hallmark of a life well-lived. Rita's contributions will be sorely missed."