Bob Ritchie, more formally known as Robert William Ritchie, was born on May 20, 1946, to Francis Joseph and Marguerite Catherine (Scott) Ritchie, in Bristol. He died on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in New Britain, at the age of 71.
Bob was named after his paternal uncles Robert and William, both killed in WWII, before Bob could ever meet them. Bob kept the Purple Hearts of both uncles as a reminder of their presence on earth, their service to the country and the honor of being named for them.
Bob attended Bristol Public Schools and Central Connecticut State University where he earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees. He continued taking college credit courses at New England colleges and universities to satisfy his curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
His teaching career began in 1968 at Bristol Central High School, where he taught for 24 years followed by 15 years of teaching at Memorial Boulevard Middle School, also in Bristol. Many students enjoyed his drafting and technology education classes over his nearly 40 years of teaching. He will also be remembered for driver education lessons and his successful cross-country teams spanning 14 years. He loved his career. He loved his students.
Each September he spent a sleepless night before the opening day of school anticipating the arrival of new students. And, he spoke with great pride of the many former students who had chosen careers in education, many of whom in areas related to technology education.
Nowhere was Bob more content than at his cottage in Charlestown, R.I. He loved sharing it with family and friends, especially his nephews and nieces who allowed him to “just be a kid again.” Over the past 48 summers there, he watched four generations of the Fritz and the Lavallee families come and go; he kept in touch with many who have moved elsewhere. It was where he raised prolific vegetable and flower gardens, fished in the ocean and dug for clams and mussels in salt-water ponds, jogged, biked and hiked. Friends and family were often invited to meals he had prepared.
Over the past 11 years of his retirement, improvements were made and land was reclaimed. Recent summers found him spending his morning on tasks, relaxing in the afternoon with one of a number of books from politics to sports to religion and especially advances in technology and his day would close on the deck under the stars, listening to a Red Sox game on the radio. It was his place of peace and beauty.
He is survived by the love of his life, Grace Pauls-Ritchie. He never passed up an opportunity to thank Jennie Henry for introducing them over 20 years ago. Having been married just three years, they created together a life filled with family, friends, travelling, completing various projects in Connecticut and Rhode Island, including quilting, building and re-finishing furniture, gardening, the arts of various kinds, including museums, theater and concerts to name a few.
In addition to his wife, Bob is survived by three brothers, Joseph and his wife, Palmer Ritchie, of Orange Park, Fla., Michael and his wife, Jean Ritchie, of Summerville, S.C., Gregory Ritchie and his fiancé, Pamela Palmer-Anderson, of Mantua, N.J.; three sisters, Marguerite and her husband, Bert Rompre, of Farmington, Patricia and her husband, Jim DeSanto, of Plymouth, and Kathleen and her husband, Larry Egan, of Naples, Fla.; and many nephews and nieces.
He is also survived by Grace’s children, Scott Pauls and his wife, Laura Fineberg, and their daughter, Abigail Pauls of Lebanon, N.H.; Jonathan (Ted) Pauls and his wife, Laura O’Brien, and their daughter, Sally O’Brien and Kathleen (Roni) O’Brien of Brandon, Vt. Three maternal aunts, Anna Scott Bachman of Bristol, Katherine (Kitty) Scott of Randolph, Vt. and Ceil Scott of W. Rutland, Vt., also survive, as well as many cousins.
Funeral services for Bob will be celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, at Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol, CT 06010 at 11 a.m. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family. Relatives and friends are invited to call at Funk Funeral Home on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, between 4 and 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Robert W. Ritchie Scholarship Fund by contacting Robert J. Fiondella, 90 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, CT 06089 or to a charity of your choice.
Visit Bob’s memorial website at www.FUNKFUNERALHOME.com