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 (310) 675-3379

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  1. Herald was a great brother/brother-in-law. We have many fond memories of him. We lived a long distance from him and wish we could have visited with him more often. We admired his many talents, zest for gaining new knowledge & skills, as well as his kind and loving nature. He will be greatly missed.

  2. We could have searched the whole world and couldn’t have found a better brother. He meant the world to us and we loved him dearly. He was a great husband and father whose family reflected the values that he instilled in them. All the relatives in Oklahoma extend our love and condolences to Caroline, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

  3. Viewpoint of Herald Ritch from a baby sister: Herald was a dear brother to the younger members of his family. When I think of Herald, I remember the visits when he brought his lively children to our house. It was looked forward to as if it were a holiday. I remember all of the wonderful Christmas gifts that he sent to my sisters, my brother, and me. I specifically remember the mama-papa talking dolls, a doll house that my friends envied, and many lovely clothes. (Of course, we all realized that Caroline had chosen them.) I remember the twinkle in Herald’s eyes as his dry wit entertained me. I remember his disapproving look when I cheated in dominoes. I specifically remember how he counseled his children instead of punishing them. He was my own personal version of the father on “Father Knows Best.” I remember when he let his wife and mother go shopping with his new Oldsmobile, while he baby sat, when my dad thought that the appropriate thing was for Herald and him to go show off the the new Oldsmobile to his friends. When I think of my brother Herald, I think of strength, courage, honesty, nurturing, and most of all — love.

  4. I have wonderful memories of trips out west to see the ‘California relatives’. Uncle Herald helped us find our way around DisneyLand and Knotts Berry Farm. He was always kind and witty. He was a special inspiration to my dad, Gene, and I’ll always remember him fondly. Blessings and condolences to Caroline and all the cousins.

  5. I remember taking walks around the block with Uncle Herald on our trips to L.A. He would also help us find a little turtle that lived in the backyard, and watch as much T.V. in his home. (which was a dream come true for little kids) Uncle Herald also lent me his car to drive my college girlfriend to Universal Studios and to Hollywood. That definitely showed his trust in me! Thanks for giving me such wonderful memories and loving our family! Your family was always so fun to be around. I’ll miss you!

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