Elizabeth B. “Betty” Ritchey 92 passed away peacefully on April 17, 2020 after a battle with lung cancer. The Betty Shade Ritchey story began with her birth October 8, 1927 to George and Emily Shade in Mount Gilead, Ohio. Betty was their fifth child and could always be found helping her father at the “Shady Inn Garage” or playing basketball and baseball. She was always a bit of a Tom Boy. As she got older, she was always “up to no good” in her Model A whether it be driving over the ice on the State Lakes or getting run out of Galion for blowing all 26 horns she had installed.
Betty graduated from Mt Gilead High School in 1945 and in October of that year, she met William R. Ritchey. Just four years later on May 27, 1949, she would marry William and become “Betty Ritchey” as we know and love her today.
Putting her Tom Boy skills to good use, she and Bill purchased land from her parents on Rich Street as well as the old Fulton Church, which used to stand on the corner of State Route 61 and County Road 25. Together they tore the church down piece-by-piece, hauled it to Mt. Gilead, and rebuilt it as their new home together.
Bill and Betty welcomed their first child William “Bill” Ritchey into the world followed by a second son Richard “Dick” Ritchey. Her family continued to grow with her first grandchild Chad and then her second grandchild Jason. Chad has kept the family going by giving Betty her great- grandchildren Katarina, Zoey, Jayden Cheyanne and Zoey.
Betty’s love for her family could always be seen over the years whether she sported their team colors yelling “Get your glove down Ritchey!” or “Two hands Ritchey!”, playing “what I want to be when I grow up”, or just sitting back and watching their many talents.
Over the years, Betty’s focus was on not only her family, but the community of Mt. Gilead as well. She possesses a gift of gab that lets her converse with someone whether she has known him or her for years or just met them. Do not think that you can just sit quietly at an event where Betty is, because she will be sure to seek you out to make sure you have someone to talk to. She always has a great joke to tell whether it is with her circle of friends at McDonalds or a slightly off-color joke to tell in church to see whose eyebrows she can raise.
Aside from the charming personality and good jokes, Betty has always been around when someone needed a hand. She has served as a Babysitter for Blood Drives, Cub Scout den mother, and Chore Crew supervisor for the senior citizens of the county. Betty has also served as March of Dimes Coordinator, Recreation Board member, Morrow County Hospital Twig member, Cardington American Legion Ladies Auxiliary member, Salvation Army board member, Seniors on Center Meals on Wheels volunteer, Election Poll worker, Republican presiding judge of the Southwest Precinct, and Troop 56 Boy Scout Committee member. She has taught Sunday school, served as secretary for the First Baptist Church, Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, and volunteered cleaning services for the churches. Betty also was involved with the Memorial Day flag rededication ceremony at the Bryn Zion Cemetery every year.
Along with Thelma Wigton, she taught a generation of young girls’ softball, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Betty has even taken on the role of Town Clown and Town Santa Clause. She was the 2012 recipient of the Dr. Nathan Tucker Award for excellence.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, George and Emily Shade; brothers, George “Pete” and John; sisters, AnaBelle and Louise; husband, William “Bill” Ritchey, son WIlliam “Bill” Ritchey, great-granddaughter Cheyanne Ritchey and numerous friends and family members.
She is survived by her son, Richard “Dick” Ritchey (Natalie); grandsons, Chad Ritchey and Jennifer (Leaha), Jason Ritchey (Leila), Pam Ritchey (Fred); great-grandchildren: Katarina (Tyler), Zoey, Jayden and Zoey; one great-great grandchild on the way; many nieces and nephews, special friends and her furbaby, Stanley.
In Betty’s final days, the true superstar of the day was Penny Cranston. Penny stayed with Betty day and night. Penny went to work at Kroger and Whetstone Industries and came home and took care of Betty’s every need. The family would also like to recognize Hospice of Morrow County for their exceptional care of Betty.
She has touched the lives of many as a coach, a mentor, a volunteer, a friend or even just offering up a joke to someone in hard times. Volunteer is her middle name and she has been called many things over the years, but there is only one Betty Ritchey.
A graveside service will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at Noon at the Bryn Zion Cemetery. We ask that anyone attending the Graveside Service please abide to the “Social Distancing” parameters set by CDC. A more public celebration of life will be held for Betty at a later date to be announced by Gompf Funeral Home.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution in honor of Betty are asked to consider: Hospice of Morrow County or the Williams Syndrome Association.
Those wishing to share a memory of Elizabeth or to express a condolence to the Ritchey family may do so by visiting www.gompffh.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elizabeth "Betty" Beryl Ritchey, please visit our floral store.