Lorraine Gates Stitzlein, known as Rainy, was born on May 16, 1928, and passed away on November 30, 2012. A lifelong Akronite, she was one of the most respected and successful businesswomen in the area and one of the most generous and committed alumni of The University of Akron. A member of the class of 1948 and former president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Mrs. Stitzlein worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company before joining Eddie Elias Enterprises in 1958.
Mrs. Stitzlein and the late alumnus Eddie Elias '51 organized and founded the Professional Bowlers' Association. Known as the "first lady of the PBA," Mrs. Stitzlein was the only woman to be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame (Meritorious Service section) and to hold a lifetime membership in the PBA. She retired from Eddie Elias Enterprises as executive vice president of the public relations, promotions and marketing firm. She also was the owner and president of Rainbow, Inc., a sports administration and celebrity management firm, and Rainbow Furs, Ltd.
Mrs. Stitzlein was appointed to The University of Akron Board of Trustees in 1988 by Gov. Richard Celeste and served for nine years, including as chairwoman from 1994 to 1997. She was named chairwoman emeritus when her term expired in July 1997. Previously, Mrs. Stitzlein had served the University as a member and president of the Alumni Association's National Board of Directors and the Hilltoppers/Buchtelles, an alumni group that promoted academic excellence and continued involvement with the University. She also was a member of The University of Akron Foundation Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, as well as the College of Business Administration Advancement Council.
Her many honors include being a 1978 recipient of The University of Akron Outstanding Alumna Award as well as an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa, and the first woman to be made an honorary member of Beta Gamma Sigma, a national honorary for business. She also was inducted into the Akron Beacon Journal's Fashion Hall of Fame and the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame.
Mrs. Stitzlein received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University in 1997. That same year, the University's alumni center was renamed the Harry P. and Rainy G. Stitzlein Alumni Center in honor of her and her husband's contributions and dedication to the University. Mr. Stitzlein, a 1950 UA graduate who died in 1995, was chairman and CEO of Malone Advertising. Mrs. Stitzlein had been a donor to the University since 1952. She, along with family, friends, alumni and Malone Advertising, established The Harry P. Stitzlein Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Business in 1995 in Mr. Stitzlein's memory.
Mrs. Stitzlein served as president of the Cancer Society Board and as a trustee of both the Summit County Unit of the American Cancer Society and Edwin Shaw Hospital Foundation. She was an associate member of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In addition, Mrs. Stitzlein was on the board of directors of the John S. Knight Center and the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, now Northeast Ohio Medical University. She was a member of the Ohio State Racing Commission until 2005 and was a member and former chair of the Metro Parks Serving Summit County Board of Commissioners from 1995 to 2010.