Mark Rudesill of Cape Girardeau and Mary Gail Rohr of Naperville, Illinois, made a gift to establish the award in their parents’ memory.
The scholarship will be awarded to a Southeast Missouri State University student from Cape Girardeau, Perry, Scott or Bollinger counties pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Education in the Department of Art. Recipients must have a minimum 2.0 grade point average and financial need. The Department of Art Scholarship Committee will select the recipient.
Mary Kathryn “Ki” Litzelfelner was a Cape Girardeau native, graduating from Cape Central High School in 1939. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was both Art Club president and yearbook art editor during her senior year. She often spoke fondly of her art teacher there, Miss Edna Haman. Ki then attended Southeast, majoring in art.
Clifford Rudesill met Ki during World War II, while he was a flight instructor at Harris Field, south of Cape Girardeau. After a long distance romance while Cliff was flying transports over “the Hump,” they married and started a family. Cliff was a salesman at various companies in the Midwest during these years, while Ki stayed home, raising their children, Gail and Mark. Ki also took more art classes when she could and continued painting.
In 1968, Ki and Cliff moved back to Cape Girardeau where Cliff had the opportunity to join Cape’s Riverside Lumber. Cliff became president of Riverside Lumber and was very instrumental in developing various Cape Girardeau subdivisions. He was also very active in Cape Girardeau’s economic development and played a role in the Show Me Center’s location as part of Southeast’s campus. He and Ki were often there supporting Southeast basketball teams and attending other functions.
Ki worked at Riverside Lumber designing displays, painting signs and laying out advertisements. She also continued pursuing her interest in the fine arts, taking oil painting classes from Cleta Curtis. Ki painted dozens of portraits, landscapes and murals for family, friends and her church, Centenary Methodist.
Cliff and Ki supported higher education for their children and continued that support by setting up college funds for their grandchildren. Ki and Cliff were always proud of Southeast Missouri State University and considered it a very important segment of Cape Girardeau’s community. Because of that attitude and their emphasis on the importance of higher education, they expressed an interest in setting up a Southeast art scholarship, which their children have now established.