Charles “Charlie” Alfred Ritter was born in Salina, KS to John F., Sr. and Alfra (Schmidt) Ritter on May 6, 1925. He passed away and entered into eternal life on the morning of November 7, 2019, at 94 ½ years of age. Married on June 19, 1948 at Sacred Heart Cathedral to the love of his life, Katherine G. Schroeder, he was a loving husband to her for 67 years until her passing in 2015. He is now happily reunited with his many family members who have gone before him, but especially with his wife, Kathy and daughter Lynne Higgins. He is survived by his children; Dr. Charles A. (Cheryl) Ritter, Mike (Chris) Ritter, Laura (Randy) Reid, and Son-in-Law Jim Higgins. He is further survived by 7 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; Chuck Ritter, Ross (Marion) Ritter, Rex (Corey) Ritter and their children Henry and Jack, Jessica (Ed) Flores and their children Sofie, Simon and Seth, Michael (Colby) Ritter and their children Baylor, Libby and Bowen, John (Stevie) Handlin and their daughter Declynne, T.J. (Kalen) Anderson and their children Thomas, Katharine and James, and Tyler Anderson. He is also survived by one sister Marie (Underwood). In addition to his wife and daughter, he was proceeded in death by his parents, John F. Sr. and Alfra Ritter, along with his sisters Martha (Thomas), Kathryn (Sheridan), Adele (Britegam) and Rita (Frisque) and brothers John F., Jr. Ritter, Joseph Ritter, James Ritter, and Richard Ritter.
Charlie started out life as the fourth of ten children born to John and Alfra. When he was a young child he suffered pneumonia that almost took his life. And when he was only a junior in high school he joined the United States Navy as a medic. He faithfully served his country during WWII and was one of the many medics assisting the wounded on an LST boat off shore on D-Day at Normandy. His service took him from England, to Normandy, to the Pacific Front in Hawaii during WWII and then California, where he served as a medic trainer in a Naval Hospital during the Korean War. He never liked talking about his time in the service and only opened up about it in the last 10 or so years of his life. After being honorably discharged he came back to Salina and finished high school and then went on to Kansas Wesleyan. Upon completing his schooling he worked his entire career at Ritter Tile Shop, which had been started by his father. While he scaled back his time at the office over the last 20 years, he didn’t completely retire until 2016. In his free time he enjoyed remodeling his home, taking care of the yard and garden, pheasant hunting and fishing with his brothers, and watching the birds.
He will be remembered as the life of a party, a man who loved his wife and family above all else, someone who cared about others and their well-being, a man of integrity, honesty, and faith. Faith truly was a constant for him – from attending Mass on a boat while stationed in the Navy to being a lifelong member and supporter of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was a 4th degree Knight of Columbus, a greeter, and an usher during his many years at the Cathedral. He was also an Elks member.
The daily life of Charlie will be something that we all remember – him waking up and enjoying breakfast his wife made him before heading off to work, him coming home for lunch daily (and as he got older taking a nap too), then him returning to work before coming home for a dinner with a necessary dessert. He loved the food, and especially the desserts, his wife made him. He will be remembered as a dad who got on the floor and wrestled with his little girls, Lynne and Laura, when he was younger and the same dad who couldn’t wait for their visits home when he was older. He was a dad who worked day in and day out with his son, Mike. He was a dad who would take his son, C.A., and the scout troop he was a part of, on camping trips, which lead to a lifelong scouting legacy for C.A. and his children. He was a dad who on Saturdays would light the B.B.Q., drink too much and then get himself kicked out of the kitchen by his wife, where he would head to the living room and put on some Frank Sinatra and play with his kids. He was a dad who was always doing some sort of remolding to his home and his boys enjoyed getting to help. And most Sundays included an evening drive around town as a family. He was a grandpa and great-grandpa that his grandchildren looked forward to seeing – his face lighting up in a smile when he would see them. A grandpa who always loved to listen to the greats – Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, and many others. He was a grandpa who always had an old western on when you walked in the door. Someone who took an interest in and wanted to know what was going on in every person’s life, which made us feel nothing but love. He set for us an example of a life well lived.
He taught his family to think of others and to help them in both big and small ways and he truly made a difference in the lives of the people he was around. We are all extremely fortunate to have the memories, the stories, and the many years we had him in our lives. Charlie’s last days were spent with his children and other family members surrounding him with love and stories from the past. He was loved by many, and will be missed by a great number of family and friends, but he is with his wife and daughter now and that gives us much peace.
His services are as follows:
The rosary will take place at 7:00 pm on Tuesday November 12, 2019 at Ryan Mortuary. Friends may call from noon until 7:00 pm on Tuesday, with visitation with family from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:00 am on Wednesday November 13, 2019 at Sacred Heart Cathedral with interment to immediately follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Reception to Celebrate his Life will take place following the internment at about 12:30 pm on November 13, 2019 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in the Hall put on by the Lady’s Guild.
Memorials are suggested to Sacred Heart Cathedral or Sacred Heart Jr.-Sr. High School for the Ritter Family Scholarship (the Scholarship started to honor his parents, John F. and Alfra Ritter), in care of Ryan Mortuary, Salina.