September 23, 1920 ~ October 5, 2007
Herald Lester Ritch
In Cold Water, Kansas, on September 23, 1920, Herald Lester Ritch was born. His father worked the oil wells, moving the family from Texas to Kansas, and eventually to Oklahoma.
Herald learned to read and write through the kindness and patience of his first stepmother, and from his second stepmother, Neva, he learned about sacrifice, hard work, and dedication to one's family. From a Cherokee Indian, the very young Herald learned to hunt, fish, and ride horses in the Oklahoma Ozarks. Learning was a joy for him, and he generously passed his knowledge on to others, whether it was knowledge gleaned from experience and training or from academics.
Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, at age 18, his reading had led him to feel strongly that the U.S. would be at war soon; he believed that America must be prepared, and so, he joined the army/cavalry. He was soon stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and later at Fort Ord, California, where he became a drill sergeant.
After his discharge, while working at North American Aviation (later renamed North American Rockwell), he met his wife, Caroline Lillevold, a former school teacher, who became the center of his life for the next 60 years.
The family grew and moved from beside the Coliseum in Los Angeles to the smaller city of Hawthorne. He became the first president of Aviation Little League and served for years on the board of education for Trinity Lutheran Church School. Education and family life was always of primary importance.
Not only did Herald instill a love of learning in every member of his family, but he practiced what he preached; studying Spanish, television repair, chemistry, and even quantum physics well into his eighties.
On October 5, 2007, he passed away from natural causes. He was preceded in death by his parents George and Neva Ritch, his brothers, Bobby Don Ritch and Howard M. Ritch, and his sister, Betty Lombardi. He is survived by his brother Eugene Ritch, sisters, Margie Ballew and Norma Payne, his son, Herald Ritch and daughter-in-law Linda, and daughters, Thone Ritch, Roberta Ritch, Sharon Stowe, Sheila and son-in-law John Hofsaess. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
The funeral will be held at 11am on October 10, Wednesday, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hawthorne. Since he was a board member at the Trinity Lutheran School where all five of his children attended, his family is requesting that donations be given to the school in lieu of flowers. The school's address and phone number are as follows:
Trinity Lutheran School
4783 W. 130th Street
Hawthorne, CA 90250-5196
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