Richard E. (Dick) Ritchie died peacefully in his sleep. He was born in Collingdale, PA.
He is pre-deceased by his son Richard M. in 2019, and his parents, Lewis G. and Genevieve Ritchie; 3 siblings, Lewis, Donald, and Maureen.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Susan M. (Del Vacchio) Ritchie, and 2 daughters, Suzanne M. Ritchie of Papillion, Nebraska, Stephanie M. Ritchie of Forked River, daughter-in-law, Jacquelyn DeRose of Forked River, and his sister, Beverly Thurber of Secane, PA, his beloved grandchildren Jennifer & Jon Hobbs, Kristen & T. Ryan Belford, Robert S. Kalinowski and Grace McMullin, and Richard J. Kalinowski and Brittany, of Nebraska, Andrew R. and Evan M. Ritchie, and granddaughters, Ashley and Chelsea DeRose of Forked River, NJ and his great-grandsons, Merrick and Brennan Hobbs, Max and Jack Belford.
Dick was a 1959 graduate of Collingdale High School in Pennsylvania. He attended Spring Garden Institute of Automotive Training in Philadelphia, on a scholarship, where he learned his automotive repair training. He also attended St. Joseph’s College for a short period of time taking accounting courses.
Dick followed in this father’s footsteps as a fire fighter at Collingdale Fire Company II. He was a trainee at 14, a junior fireman at 16, and a full-fledged fireman at 18. As an adult, he joined the Media Fire Company in 1964 and became Fire Chief in 1966, a profession he sincerely loved.
His service station career began when he opened his first Sunoco Service Station in Media, PA, in 1963. He stayed at that location until the company closed it for a rebuild. He then worked in numerous locations for Elmer Booz Jr., and then on his own until 1972 when he became a consultant and manager for Marcoin Management Company in Cherry Hill. In 1974, he again decided to go back into the service station business and relocated with his family to Forked River, NJ. He opened Yacht Basin Exxon in 1974, followed by Lacey Exxon, which later became Lacey Shell, and is now being run as an auto repair shop under the name of Lacey Auto Care, which was under the management of his son Richard until his death in 2019 and now managed by his grandson , Andrew R. Ritchie. He also owned and operated numerous other locations over the years.
Dick was one of 5 Exxon Dealers to receive top honors for the Commitment to Excellence program and served on the dealer advisory panels, both local and nationwide. He also received top awards in his relationship with Shell Oil Company serving on their dealer counsel, both local and national. He was a member of the New Jersey Gasoline Retailers Association, serving on their boards also.
Dick believed in supporting his community with many generous donations to the local police, fire departments, schools, and sports programs.
Dick became a member of the Rotary Club of Forked River in 1975. He worked on various committees and directorships and became president in 1980. He continued his career in Rotary and earned the prestigious title of District Governor of District 7500, serving Ocean, Burlington, and Monmouth Counties in 1995-96. In 2020, Dick received the Major Donor Recognition to the Paul Harris Society where with his recognition he awarded Andrew Ritchie with a prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award.
He was president of the Lacey Township Chamber of Commerce in 1980, a lifetime member of Lacey Elks #2540, and a lifetime member of the Keystone State Fire Chiefs Association. Dick served on the board of the Ocean County United Way, and is a long time Keel Member of that organization. He has also received the prestigious Alexis de Tocqueville award from that organization. Dick also served for 12 years on the Lacey Township Planning Board where he served as vice chairman for a number of years.
Dick and his wife, Sue, enjoyed many years in Naples, Florida, where Dick served as president of the condo association for Vanderbilt Surf Colony II for 10 years.
A private service was held for the immediate family. A celebration of life will take place at another time.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Dick’s name to:
The Rotary Foundation
Ocean County United Way
Lacey Food Bank
or the charity of your choice
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