Patricia "Patty" Traugott Rouse, a community development visionary and co-founder of The Enterprise Foundation, now Enterprise Community Partners, died March 5, 2012, at Vantage House in Columbia, Md., of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She struggled with Alzheimer's disease for the past 10 years. She was 85.
With an audacious spirit and ambitious goal in mind, Patty and her late husband, Jim Rouse, established The Enterprise Foundation in 1982 to ensure that every person living in America has a decent, affordable home. Headquartered in the city that was developed by her husband, Columbia, Md., the organization is marking 30 years as the leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. She was a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees of Enterprise and previously held board positions as vice president and secretary. She also served as secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of its for-profit subsidiary, Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Patty's inspiration and generosity touched the lives of so many in the affordable housing and community development industry. The genuine care and compassion she exuded for the individuals and families served by the organization created a standard that Enterprise strives to uphold today.
"Enterprise is forever indebted to Patty, our visionary co-founder, for her unwavering commitment and the groundbreaking legacy she has left the affordable housing and community development industry," said Terri Ludwig, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners. Charlie Werhane, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Investment said "Patty has been a close member of the Enterprise family since co-founding the organization with her late husband Jim thirty years ago. She embodied the heart and soul of Enterprise and will continue to be the foundation of our organization."
Born to Albert and Myrtle Traugott, Patty was the youngest of two children and raised in Norfolk, Va. In her youth, she volunteered at the local hospital and served as an airplane spotter for enemy aircraft during World War II. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sweet Briar College in 1948 with a degree in British History. During her junior year, she studied abroad at St. Andrews University in Scotland. When she met Jim, she was working on a graduate degree in Urban Studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She discontinued her studies and moved to Columbia, Md. when she married Jim in 1974. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Old Dominion University in 1997.
Patty enjoyed gardening and creating custom pottery pieces. An avid supporter of the arts, she frequently attended monthly Columbia Film Society screenings at Howard Community College, and plays and choral concerts at the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School. Before her husband passed, some of her most cherished moments with him were spent fishing and walking around Wilde Lake in Columbia, cheering on their favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, and spending time at their cabin on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She attended the St. John United Methodist Presbyterian church at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center and Christ Episcopal Church, both of Columbia, Md.
Throughout her career, Patty was appointed to several boards and the recipient of many prestigious awards for her local and national contributions to the affordable housing and community development industry: Appointed by President Bush to the Board of Directors of the Commission on National and Community Service; the first female Commissioner of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority; President of the Health-Welfare-Recreation Planning Council; Regional Director of the Association of Junior Leagues; Founding member of the President's Circle of Habitat of Humanity; Founders Committee of World Times, Inc; Publisher of The WorldPaper; Board member to Sweet Briar College, Board of Visitors of Old Dominion University, Jubilee Housing, Inc., National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Civilian Community Corps Advisory Board, The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, Health and Welfare Council, Inc. and the recipient of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Hubert Humphrey Human and Civil Rights Award, The National Housing Conference 1998 Housing Person of the Year, and the Howard County Women's Hall of Fame.
Patty was predeceased by her youngest son, Thomas Cornick Rixey, who died at age 24 of an asthma attack. Survivors include her sister Mary Perkins Traugott Brown of Virginia Beach, Va.; sons J. Barbour Rixey and his wife Louise of Virginia Beach, Va.; and John F. Rixey, Jr. and his wife Celeste of Annapolis, Md.; her daughter Maria Rixey Gamper and her husband Dick of Baltimore and nine grandchildren.
In honor of Patty, contributions can be made to The Patty Rouse Fund to support Enterprise's work with the poor or to the charity of your choice. Please direct donations to the Patty Rouse Fund to: The Patty Rouse Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., 10227 Wincopin Circle, American City Building, Suite 500, Columbia, MD 21044-3400.
Mrs. Rouses Funeral Service will be held on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 11:00AM at Christ Episcopal Church , 6800 Oakland Mills Rd. Columbia, MD 21045. Interment private.