Sunday, September 4, 2011

RIP ~ David Lee Ritchie July 30, 1933 ~ August 31, 2011

September 2, 2011 FREDERICKSBURG -- David L. Ritchie, 78, of Fredericksburg, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, at West View Manor Nursing Center in Wooster. 

He was the son of David W. and Lela (Saurer) Ritchie and was born in Apple Creek on July 30, 1933. He graduated from Apple Creek High School, class of 1951. He received his bachelor's degree from Miami University in 1955. He served two years in the U.S. Army while stationed in Germany, and then received his master's degree from Miami University in 1962. 

Dave started his career in teaching at Sterling school in 1955, then resumed it when he returned from the service. He taught at Norwayne School District and was head basketball coach and assistant baseball coach for six years. His next teaching job took him to Chardon schools and was head basketball and head cross country coach as well as math teacher and assistant baseball coach. He then went to Streetsboro schools and in 1971 married Vicki (Sutherland). She survives.

This is part of the obituary for my Uncle Dave ~ the full version can be found here.

Reading it made me realize another reason for collecting family stories - for any person there is so much more than just these final few paragraphs. Here are just a few of the things I remember about my Uncle Dave.

He was born on a farm near Apple Creek, Ohio.  The farm was the home of his mother, Lela Saurer's family.  For many years Uncle Dave had a painted picture of that farm that had been handed down to him by one of this Mother's aunts.  That picture now hangs in my bedroom and is one of my genealogy treasures. 

When I was very young I used to tell people I was named after my Uncle Dave.  That always brought some amused looked! I thought it was so incredible that we had the same initials - DLR.  I'm not sure why I equated that with being named after him, but somehow that made sense to me as a child.
The obligatory horse picture taken in Cleveland.

Although Uncle Dave was born out on the farm the family spent his early years in the city of Cleveland.  For many years I thought this picture of Uncle Dave on a horse must have been taken out on the farm.  I have a similar picture of my Dad and in talking to him about it one day he told me he doesn't remember exactly but it was NOT on the farm.  His grandparents didn't have ponies!  This picture was taken in the city somewhere.  

My Uncle Dave, the older of the two brothers.
My dad was the younger brother, but he was the first to marry and have children.  I remember my Uncle Dave living with his parents at least for part of the time I was little.  One memory especially stands out.  It was probably late morning and my sister and I had been asking about Uncle Dave.  Apparently he was still upstairs asleep and the adults all told us to go waken him.  So we crept up stairs and silently made our way across the big open room upstairs until we stood by Uncle Dave's bed.  There was a reading light over the bed - it pulled down from above and to this day I can't remember if we actually pulled it down or if it had been left that way, but we both yelled, "UNCLE DAVE WAKE UP" as loud as we could.  Of course he sat up and hit his head on that light while we ran for the safety of Grandma and Grandpa!!

The farm didn't have ponies, but it had dogs!
That is a particularly funny story because eons later, when he had two very small children and they were being, well children, he made a comment about how well-behaved Jackie's girls always were.  My mom just laughed at that and told him he obviously didn't remember very well.  I don't think she brought up the light incident, but that was hardly the only thing we ever did to torment Uncle Dave.

In spite of that little incident, one thing I remember was when Uncle Dave bought us cowboy boots.  I'm not talking about some pretend dress-up things - these were real, honest to goodness boots and something our parents had told us they would not buy.  Of course they wouldn't because we would grow out of them so soon but Uncle Dave bought them!!  I used to wear them to roller skate because I had the old metal skates with a key.  I could tighten the skates and then still slip my feet out later.  

 We could always count on Uncle Dave to indulge us.

I know that to many people 78 doesn't seem young.  People will always says, "He lived a long and full life" but for those we love there is no number of years that ever seems long enough.


  1. What a lovely tribute and such wonderful memories, condolences and prayers for the entire family.

  2. This is a wonderful tribute to your Uncle. May you be comforted of your memories of him. Condolences to you and your family.

  3. Diana - so sorry for your loss; this is a loving tribute to your Uncle.

  4. Beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss.

  5. Diana, my condolences to you & your family. And what a beautiful tribute to your uncle.


  6. My condolences to you on the passing of an obviously favoured uncle. You have now triggered in me a memory, which was otherwise leaving my brain, of my sister's ice-skating boots.

  7. What a wonderful tribute, Diana. Great photos and cherished memories. Your last line is so true--my grandmother was 96 when she died, but it seemed too soon. My sympathies to you and your family.

  8. Sorry to hear of the death of your Uncle Dave. It sounds like your family was richer for having him in it.

  9. Thank so much everyone for your kinds words and thoughts!!


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