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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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June 16, 2019

4/25/2019 7:30:00 AM
Wallace (Wally) Earl Ritchie

Wallace (Wally) Earl Ritchie passed on April 19, 2019 at The Caring Place in Crandon after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Wally was born May 31, 1929 to Valentine and Marie (Neumann) Ritchie in Laona. Wally married Alice James on Dec. 18, 1948 in Crandon.

Wally was chosen to be the class president for his high school junior and senior class, Prom King, and Captain for the Crandon football team. After graduation, Wally worked for his father in the concrete business and for the U.S. Forest Service. He and Alice then moved to Rhinelander where Wally worked at Atlas Plywood. In 1954 he was recruited by the Rhinelander Fire Chief and worked his way through the ranks to become Fire Chief in 1980. Wally served as the chief from January 1980 until his retirement in May 1988. Wally received the first "Firefighter of the Year" award from the department. He took his job very seriously, was devoted to his work and was proud of the department. As a leader, he never asked of others something he was not willing to do himself. After retiring from the fire department, Wally worked five years for Palm Electric.

Wally enjoyed reading his Bible and did so regularly. He and Alice were long time members of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. His faith and service to God and to others were foundations in his life. Wally was a very kind, caring, brave and humble man always willing to lend a hand to help. Spending time with his family, fishing, hunting, golfing and having an occasional Brandy Alexander at home always brought him joy. He loved spending time with Alice at their property on 4th lake fishing and watching the wildlife, and had fun going to the casinos on occasion. He gave of his time and talents doing electrical and construction work for his church, his family and his friends.

As a member of the Forest County Potawatomi Community he spent the last five years at The Caring Place in Crandon. Everyone there became part of his family. As his disease progressed, he always managed a smile when friends and family visited so we knew he was still with us and enjoying our time with him.

Wally is survived by his son, Craig (Delyn) Ritchie and his daughter, Lorrie (David) Bur; nine grandchildren: Jody (Tim) Felbab, Jaime (John) McGuane, Kate (Dan) Everson, Megan (Michael) Rudie, Mark (Katie) Ritchie, Travis Bur, Alicia Bur, Lydia Bur, and Mitchell Bur; two great-grandchildren, Haylie Stefonek and Aiden McGuane and many nieces and nephews. Wally was preceded in death by Alice, his wife of nearly 70 years; infant daughter Jean, daughter Joan and son-in-law Thomas Stefonek, his parents, and his siblings, Verol Tyler, Ruth Patterson, Henry Ritchie, and Clarice Ritchie.

Wally was a very devoted husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great grandfather. He went about his life in a quiet and unassuming way, yet he accomplished many things and was always an excellent role model.

Funeral services for Wally will be held on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, with Reverend Richard Krahn officiating.

Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at the Carlson Funeral Home and from 10 a.m., until just prior to the services, on Monday at the Church.

Interment will follow in the Northland Memorial Park Cemetery. You may leave your private condolences for the Ritchie family at A memorial will be established in Wally's name and may be directed to his family.

The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Ritchie family.

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