Thelma Virginia Ritz, 97

December 15, 2009

JUNE 26, 1912-DEC. 13, 2009

ORRSTOWN, Pa. - Thelma Virginia Ritz, 97, formerly of Buck Valley, Pa., died peacefully on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, at Orrstown Personal Care Home, Orrstown, Pa.

Born June 26, 1912, in Belle Grove, Md., she was the oldest child of the late Rev. Henry Wesley and Lottie Smith May.

She lived part of her childhood in North Carolina while her father completed his ministerial degree at Elon College. After returning to Pennsylvania, the family lived in Bedford and Fulton counties.


Thelma was a 1932 graduate of Warfordsburg High School.

She married Ralph Glen Ritz on Oct. 25, 1933. They made their home in Buck Valley with her husband's parents, Calvin and Delilah Sigel Ritz. Thelma remained in her beloved Buck Valley home for more than 70 years until failing health forced her to move in late 2004.

Since early 2005, she has resided at Orrstown Personal Care Home, where the outstanding staff has provided thoughtful and loving care.

Her husband, Ralph, died suddenly on July 16, 1979, and two of her three children also preceded her in death: her oldest, devoted son James Ralph Ritz, died June 13, 2008; and her second-born, Brenda Ann, died at 8 months in 1947. She was also predeceased by her five siblings: Gladys Spade, Conda Earl May, Maxine Goddard, Helen Barton and Patricia Weaverling.

Thelma is survived by one daughter, Sharon Ritz Reinwald and husband, Dr. Thomas Reinwald, of Shippensburg, Pa.; daughter-in-law, Julianne Ritz of Pittsburgh; grandson Dr. Stephen Ritz and wife, Lisa, of New Castle, Pa.; grandson, Dr. Jonathan Ritz and wife, Dr. Patricia Spinner, of East Lansing, Mich.; three great-grandchildren, Lauren, Alexander and Samuel Ritz; as well as a number of nieces and nephews.

Thelma was a member of Buck Valley Christian Church, and as long as her husband was living, they also attended Zion Lutheran Church in Buck Valley.

Thelma was a creative and accomplished seamstress and needle worker, an avid and excellent gardener, a loving pet owner with a keen appreciation for the gifts of nature, and a good cook who delighted in making her family's favorite dishes.

Services are scheduled for Monday, Dec. 21, at 1:30 p.m. at Buck Valley Christian Church, 2281 Harmonia Road, Warfordsburg, Pa., with visitation one hour prior to the service. Pastor Scott Gibbs will officiate. Burial will be made in the church cemetery.

Kelso-Cornelius Funeral Home Ltd., Chambersburg, is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial donations may be made to Buck Valley Christian Church, c/o Jenna Hoopengardner, 715 High Germany Road, Warfordsburg, PA 17267.

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