In Loving Memory
October 2, 1921 – January 18, 2016
Spanish Fort, AL
Norman Blair Ritchey (94) “Slipped the surly bonds of earth” early on the morning of January 18th 2016, in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He is now reunited with his wife June, the love of his life.
Norman was born on Oct 2, 1921 in Verona, PA to Vernon Larue Ritchey and Bess Louise Ritchey (Burgess) one of five children; Vernon Larue Ritchey, Dorothy Ritchey (Ringer), Evelyn Jean Ritchey (Smith) and William Neil Ritchey. The Ritchey family moved from Verona, PA to Buffalo, NY when Norman was 5, and then to Bloomfield, NJ when Norman was 14, where he met the love of his life, June Kenzel Pettit while attending Bloomfield High School. He’d say; he first met her in Mrs. Dunn’s Algebra class when he arrived late and June smiled at him. Norman served in the US Army Signal Corp, working on RADAR, during WWII in the Pacific, traveling from Australia to New Guinea to the Philippines and ultimately to Japan. He received his Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering and his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He worked for Sylvania at Emporium, PA; Dorn and Margolin in Kew Gardens, NY; and Airborne Instruments Laboratory in Deer Park, NY until retirement in 1986. On November 16, 1946 Norman and June Married, in Bloomfield, NJ. They moved to Huntington, NY; built their home, and lived in it for 64 years. In 2014 Norman and June moved to Westminster Village in Spanish Fort, Alabama, to be close to their son Blair.
Norman taught us how to live life well through his example. He fought for his country in WWII. He married his high school sweetheart and celebrated 68 anniversaries with her. The depth of his love was an inspiration to us. He found something he enjoyed doing (RADAR), and found someone who would pay him for doing it. He was adventurous and traveled to far corners of the world, by air, ship, train, and bus. “If you have time to spare, go by air; the ones with the brains, are riding the trains; if you are on a rush, take the bus” you might hear him say. He was daring as evidenced by flying his own airplane to all corners of North America. He was industrious, he and June built their house with their own hands, while June taught and Norman worked full time and went to night school for his master’s and towards doctorate degrees. He was honest to a fault, and never took a hand out. He left the world a better place than he found it, which is something he always said he wanted to do.
Norman and June loved to travel. June had incurable wanderlust, and Norman loved to travel with her. Norman also loved flying his airplane, with which he traveled all around North America in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. He’d say he bought the airplane after traveling as far as he could on 2 weeks’ vacation in his boat Carefree. After giving up flying Norman and June went on many ship cruises, He said he lost count at 37.
Family was ever so important to June and Norman. Norman’s devotion to June knew no bounds. Norman was an exceptional man. His character, devotion to his wife and family, his honesty and ethics were something to aspire to. Thank you for teaching us the really important things in life.
Norman is survived by his 3 children: Cynthia Ann Exner (Debbie), Wendy Lynne Ritchey-Helbing (Michael) and Norman Blair Ritchey II (Bonnie); 5 grandchildren: Kristan Kenzel Exner Sullivan (Greg), John Ernest Exner IV (Jessica), Garrett Jonathon Exner (Michele), Joseph Ritchey Helbing and Florence Marie Helbing; and 3 great grandchildren: Peyton Lee Exner, Isla Quinn Exner, and Isaac Garrett Exner.
Norman is preceded by wife June Kenzel Ritchey (Pettit), and older brother Vernon Burgess Ritchey.
Expressions of condolence may be offered at www.hughesfh.com. Arrangements by Hughes Funeral Home, 7951 American Way, Daphne, AL.