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Lester Ritchie

Lester Arthur Ritchie

Tuesday November 26, 1935 - Saturday March 28, 2020
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Obituary

Measure your life in decades and you will have but a handful that pass by in an instant. Measure your
life in years and you will have a fair sum that still slip by too quickly. Measure your life in moments
and you will have more than you can count, each filled with such meaning and richness that you won’t
even notice them passing. Karen Wyatt, MD (but we DID notice and value each moment!)
Lester (Les) Arthur Ritchie (1935-2020) passed onto his next journey peacefully with his daughter
Susan, son-in-law Frank and best Grand-Daughter Mekaela beside him at Sault Area Hospital in the
early hours of Saturday March 28, 2020.

Dad was predeceased by his father and mother David and Dorothy Ritchie (McBrien) as well as his
brother David (Gail and Marty, Erin and Brett, David, Kevin and Kimmy, Sean), sister Ann and
brother-in-law Elroy (David- predeceased, Cheryl and John). Left heart stricken are Dad’s brothers
Alex (Pat, Carolyn, Catherine and Scott, Mikey and Stacy) and Harold (Ray, Donna Marie, Marla and
Jim), and sister Clare (Barry, Christopher, Katy). Missing him most of all, his sweetheart of 64 happily
married years, Barbie, and she remains his best love. While Mom’s Alzheimer’s makes this new reality
harsh for us, it’s that depth of character that saw them through their lives that she draws on now and is
sharing with us. Their love is one of the original long-lasting, all-enduring deep loves. Daughters
Susan (Frank, Mekaela and Todd) and Kim (Margaret) are left to grow through this pain with the same
strength of character.

Dad’s life included challenges and triumphs; love and laughter. As the oldest of a large family in
Toronto, it fell to him to strike out early and support his family. He left school early, yet treasured the
institution of higher education. Dad worked during the days and continued his studies at night to
ultimately hold the position of the Canadian National Credit Financier for Sony Corporation. Having
married and worked hard to save, Mom and Dad began our family in Toronto. We grew up
understanding their expectations for us to work diligently in school and to value the privilege of an
education. We were taught to respect our elders, understand the value of a dollar, enjoy and support our
neighbours and care for those who were in need.

Mom and Dad faced the challenges of life head on and taught us perseverance through example. As
we grew up, our extended Ritchie family rounded out the lessons of love and family.
And then came Grand-Daughter, Mekaela. Love grew exponentially in our family, and the forever
special bond between Poppa and Mickey remains unparalleled. Sooooo many happy moments filled
our lives for the past 25 years. We knew we had wonderful lives together, and we never missed an
opportunity to talk together, visit together, play together, vacation together. Mom and Dad believed in
the value of experience through travel, and we’ve had uncountable hilarious, scary, fun and enriching
adventures altogether, often while tenting!

Finally, their travel landed them in Sault Ste. Marie. Dad felt he could never thank our friends, John
and Lu, Sharen and Jerry and Matt and Cameron adequately for ushering them into their new home
seamlessly. Dad said, “Every day we spend here feels like a holiday.” Both Mom and Dad were deeply
impressed by the caring, open hearted and supportive people they’ve met here. They made friends
easily and loved this “town”. They enjoyed their neighbours at “The Condo” and made instant
connections with so many upon arrival, particularly Laura, who had a special place in Dad’s heart.
Now, Dad has gone on before us, and we are crushed in his absence. His legacy is a family with true
love and strength. As Dad would say, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.’ So, on we go
honouring this kind, funny, generous and compassionate man.

And, at the end of Dad’s days, many thanks must be given to his doctors and care specialists who
worked to keep him healthy, and then, to pass gently. Dr. Leahy and Jen, Dr. Berg, Dr. Russell,
Paramed nurse Susan (how did you get so close to Dad so fast?!). Our caring pharmacists and their
crew at Westend Pharmasave....Jordan and John...Dad always enjoyed your wit and appreciated your
candour. And to the Night Shift on 3C.... Nick, Shelley, Cassandra and, most wonderfully, Camille.
You shepherded us through the most difficult time in our lives with utmost grace and compassion.
And, finally, how to express the infinite love we have for Mekaela who sat next to us for 36 hours on
Face time from Nanaimo? Both Mekaela and Todd, holding a sacred space for Poppa and ensuring us
love and rest when we needed. For Todd, for taking care of Mickey as she supported us...huge hugs
and love from afar. Poppa’s love, tucked into your hearts, is yours for all time.

In remembrance of Dad, pay forward a kindness....or let the chain begin with you. Dad believed
money is like manure, it’s no good unless it is spread around. So, treat a stranger, a neighbour or a
friend to a coffee or some small gesture..... and keep the caring going.

If you feel moved to donate, Dad would love donations to be made to our local Alzheimer’s Society.
Both Mom and Dad have many years worth of history volunteering in drug trials in Toronto to combat
this disease as well as participating locally in the Minds in Motion group each week. Dad’s hope was
for Mom, and everyone else, to be released from the threat of Alzheimer’s. Our family continues to
support the program they both loved so much.

Donations may be sent to:
Alzheimer Society
Minds in Motion
341 Trunk Road
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 3S9
705-942-2195

A family celebration will be planned for the summer. And it’s going to be BIG! Cremation has taken
place.

“See you when, Dad.”
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