Rita Short Novinskie, 64, special-needs teacher

Rita S. Novinskie
Rita S. Novinskie
Posted: August 02, 2013

Rita Short Novinskie, a special-needs teacher for middle and high school students in Haddonfield, was especially proud of two graduates.

"One student actually went on to the College of New Jersey and has pursued a degree in biochemistry," her husband, John A. Jr., said.

The other, "a particularly musically gifted" student, went to Rowan University.

On Sunday, July 28, Mrs. Novinskie, 64, of Haddonfield, a former Philadelphia and Camden County educator, died of ovarian cancer at the hospice of Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford.

Born in Philadelphia, she graduated from the former Cecilian Academy in West Mount Airy in 1967 and earned a bachelor's in elementary education at Gwynedd-Mercy College in 1971.

She began her teaching career while in college, teaching second through fifth grades at Epiphany of Our Lord parish in Plymouth Meeting from 1968 to 1975.

Moving to South Jersey, she taught language arts and social studies in the fifth and sixth grades at Sacred Heart parish in Mount Ephraim until 1978, when she left to help raise her children.

Returning to the classroom in 1992, she was both a substitute teacher and a teacher's aide, her husband said.

Mrs. Novinskie taught math until 1994 at Tatem Elementary School in Haddonfield and then was an assistant in middle and high school classrooms there.

"She worked with autistic children to mainstream them," her husband said, some of whom were "highly functioning autistic."

Working at times also at high schools in Audubon and Collingswood, Mrs. Novinskie was a part-time librarian.

From 1987 to 2002, her husband said, she was a part-time staffer at the Haddonfield Public Library, working weekends and nights at the circulation desk.

"She loved books," he said, among them the works of the Irish novelist Maeve Binchy and the American Amy Tan.

Besides her husband, Mrs. Novinskie is survived by daughters Emily Cahill and Kathleen, Meghann and Julia, a brother, a sister, and a granddaughter.

A visitation was set from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5 at Kain-Murphy Funeral Services, 15 West End Ave., Haddonfield, with a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Christ the King Church, 200 Windsor Ave., Haddonfield.

Donations may be made to www.haddonfieldeducationaltrust.org

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.kainmurphy.com.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 610-313-8134, wnaedele@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @WNaedele.

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