MIFFLINBURG – Donald L.Ritzenthaler, 73, of 6731 Furnace Rd., entered into rest at 7:58 a.m., Saturday, May 30, 2015, at Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg with his daughter by his side.
He was born May 6, 1942, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a son of the late John A. and Evelyn (McBride) Ritzenthaler. On January 5, 1963, in Sarasota, Florida, he married the former Mary Jo Weese, who survives.
Don or as some knew him Donnie or Ritzy, depending on which hat he was wearing, was a 1960 graduate of Plymouth High School, Indiana.
Fresh out of high school in the early 1960’s, he helped operate the Ritz-Craft boat factory in Sarasota, FL for his dad. In 1963 in Batavia, NY he helped start and run Ritz-Craft Mobile Homes. He helped operate the Ritz-Craft company in Elysburg starting in 1967. Shortly thereafter in 1976 Don was one of the original four owners and managers of Ritz-Craft Corp., a building manufacturing plant in Mifflinburg. He continued as a purchasing agent and treasurer of Ritz-Craft until he retired in 2010.
If you knew Don he was a man of few words but when he spoke you listened because you did not want to miss his wealth of knowledge. In his own way he was a teacher of life with unending patience. He was a businessman but an adventurous “outdoorsman” at heart.
Earlier in life while in Florida he enjoyed deep sea fishing and also spending time on his boat, “The Last One”. He also greatly enjoyed hunting big game in Alaska, Colorado, and Texas, as well as being “Mr. Farmer” planting his food plots at his cabin in the Rose Valley area in Lycoming County. But most of all enjoyed being Pappy and Grandpa to his grandchildren, by attending sporting events, rodeos and hunting at Rose Valley.
During his daughter's youth he was the #1 Dad by taking them to and from many weekend horse shows across the United States! His support continued throughout all of their adulthood endeavors. A lifelong dream was to obtain his pilot's license. That came true on his 50th birthday with a gift of flying lessons from his wife Jo. Never starting an adventure half-heartedly it wasn’t long until he had his license and owned his own helicopter. More recently he was the #1 husband by traveling with his wife and dogs to compete at dog shows. A small unknown fact: he humbly enjoyed catching the beauty of nature, animals and family in his self-taught hobby of photography.
Unlike the clique’ He was a ‘Jack of all Trades BUT a Master of ALL!’
Don was a member of the Dreisbach United Church of Christ, Lewisburg and an annual supporter of the Mifflinburg Ambulance and Fire Companies and Evangelical Hospital.
He was a 32nd Degree Mason, Williamsport, and an honorary member of the Florida and Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association. Don was a life member of Pheasants Forever, the North American Hunting Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Association, Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Rifle Association and the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum.
Surviving in addition to his wife of 52 years, are two daughters and sons-in-laws, Lori Jo and Mark Leitzel of Mifflinburg, and Pam R. and Rob Foster of Brock, Texas; four grandchildren, Andrew M., Adam L., and Amber J. Leitzel, and John Ryon Foster; one brother and sister-in-law, Larry J. and Barbara Ritzenthaler of Bradenton, Florida; and one sister, Patricia Ann Long of Bloomington, Indiana.
Memorial gifts may be made to either Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 611 Granite Springs Rd., Yorktown Heights, NY 10578, www.guidingeyes.org, 1-800-937-2083, or the Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Rd., Lewisburg, PA 17837.
A celebration of life service will be conducted at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, at the Dreisbach United Church of Christ, 875 Dreisbach Church Rd., Lewisburg, with Rev. Ruth Farrell, officiating.
Funeral arrangements are by Roupp Funeral Home, Inc., 8594 Old Turnpike Rd., Mifflinburg.