Rosetta Reitz


Retired Support Staff
“The Joys of Traveling”
By Tracy Dubois, Web Writer
November 2015

Rosetta L. Elder was born on June 29, 1927, to Joseph and Lillie Elder. She was born in Corsica, Pennsylvania, and grew up attending small Methodist churches with her family. On December 5, 1948, she married Fred Reitz from Brookville, Pennsylvania. Over the next several years, Fred and Rosetta would add three sons (Morris, Vernon, and Kevin) and a daughter (Kelly Brown) to their home.

Fred’s family was in the grocery business, and Riverside Markets, Inc., had a significant expansion, so Fred and Rosetta moved to DuBois, Pennsylvania. They became involved at First Methodist Church, where Fred was greatly influenced by Rev. Virgil Maybray. The pastor strongly encouraged his congregation to be aware of and involved in missions.

In response to all he was hearing and learning, Fred joined a work crusade to Haiti in 1968 with Missionary World Service and Evangelism. As a result of that vital ministry, Fred began directing service crusades around the world while continuing to work for the family business.

In 1973, Fred and Rosetta felt called to move to Wilmore, Kentucky, to begin full-time missions service with Missionary World Service and Evangelism. They remained in that ministry for 14 years, during which time Fred did various administrative duties and coordinated crusades. In all, Fred guided more than 80 teams, touching lives on five continents.

Fred and Rosetta moved to Marion, Indiana, in 1987 to join World Gospel Mission’s support staff. Rosetta first served in Prayer Ministries, a department Fred and Rosetta regarded as the “power arm of WGM.” Later, Rosetta became the secretary of the Stewardship Department, enabling her to work alongside Fred. After working briefly in Men With Vision, Fred became director of the Stewardship Department and then a Stewardship representative.

As part of the Stewardship Department, Fred and Rosetta not only worked together in the office every day, but they were privileged to travel around the country, helping people with their estate planning.

“God is sending us to the four corners of the States in this work,” Rosetta shared in a newsletter to their ministry partners and family. “We are on the road, visiting WGM constituency and making new friends for the work of missions and evangelism. One of the joys of traveling and calling for this department is the very special people whom we meet. Our goal is to help Christians with their estate plans so as to honor God with good decisions at the time of their home going.”

In addition to her work at WGM headquarters, Rosetta gave private piano lessons to WGM missionary/support staff kids and her neighbors and played the organ and helped with Christian Youth Crusaders at her church. She and Fred were also regular attenders and active participants in their church’s weekly prayer meetings.

Fred and Rosetta were on the move again in 1994, this time heading to Avon Park, Florida, where they oversaw the construction and development of Oaks Village, a retirement community for missionaries and other Christian servants. During this time, they continued to travel for the Stewardship Department.

“My favorite thing about ministering with WGM was spending time with the missionaries on the fields and here in the States,” Rosetta said. “They were always the highlight of anything Fred and I did with WGM.”

Fred and Rosetta officially retired from WGM on November 1, 1996. However, they continued to enhance stewardship relationships with WGM constituents for the next two years. This fit with their explanation that they were not retiring; they were “retreading.”

“It was in 1973 that we packed up in DuBois, Pennsylvania, and moved to Wilmore, Kentucky,” Fred and Rosetta recalled in a prayer letter. “We were not sure of anything, except we were sure that is where God had called us. The next 23 years were very exciting in our lives.”

Fred passed away on August 12, 2006. Rosetta continues to sing in the choir and help with the hospitality ministry at her church in Port Republic, New Jersey. She is also involved in three Bible studies each week and thoroughly enjoys spending time with her four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

“Both she and Fred have had a ministry wherever they have settled,” stated Vera Steury, WGM missionary to Kenya who has known the Reitz family since she was in college. “They have been very, very influential in lives all over the globe. No one enters Rosetta’s life without coming away feeling like they were the most useful, unique, loved, and favored person in the world. Rosetta has a gift for knowing what you need—a meal, hug, kind word, or gentle dose of reality. There isn’t an ounce of angst, animosity, cruelness, or manipulation in her body. Fred was the exact same way.”