THOMAS A. RITZMAN, 97, passed away February 5, 2011 in Chesapeake, Virginia, after a short period of failing health.
He was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, the son of Ernest and Lois (Alexander) Ritzman. At the time, his father was employed by the US Department of Agriculture. Tom grew up in Durham, New Hampshire, where his father became a distinguished professor and world renowned sheep-breeding expert at the Agricultural College at the University.
Dr. Ritzman graduated from Phillips Andover Academy in 1932, Yale University in 1936 in what was known as“Yale’s Greatest Class,”and from Harvard Medical School. He was an officer in the Navy during WWII and served as a surgeon on the SS Samaritan, a hospital ship stationed in Tokyo Bay.
He married Jane Lucey in 1941, and after the war they brought their young family to Concord where he established a medical practice devoted to Obstetrics and Gynecology. For many years Dr. Ellsworth Tracey and he, each in separate solo practices, delivered thousands of babies from the area as the only two obstetricians. In 1958, Dr. Ritzman was one of the founding members of the original Concord Clinic with Drs. Penhale, Lawrence, Eberhart, Proctor and Green. Toward the end of his career, he became intensely involved in the practice of hypnotherapy and published many articles on the subject.
Tom Ritzman was an avid skier, with Cannon Mountain being his all-time favorite destination. He could be found most Wednesdays, sun or sleet, racing down his beloved Upper Cannon. After a particularly bad fall one day, resulting in a broken leg, he presented his ski patrol rescuers with an unscathed bottle of Liebfraumilch which he had tucked in the sleeve of his parka for the ill-fated trip down the mountain toward a planned picnic. The day his first grandchild was born, he was notified of the event by the lift operator at the bottom of the Tramway. He celebrated his 80th birthday with a week-long trip to Vail which had been an annual ski destination for more than twenty years. He was the first person on the slopes every morning that year, and the last off.
A dedicated climber of his beloved White Mountains, he joined the “4000 Footer Club” and continued scaling his favorites over and over again. One of his greatest joys was climbing with his children.
In 1991 he married Hannah Criste, and they moved to California where their daughter was born. Soon afterward they relocated to Virginia. Theirs was a loving marriage of 20 years.
Dr. Ritzman was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Barbara Ritzman Devereux.
He is survived by his wife Hannah and their daughter Eleanor Rose, of Chesapeake, Virginia, Thomas Jeffery Ritzman of Bethlehem, Martha Johnson of Hopkinton, Paul Ritzman of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, Barbara Jean Higgins of Concord and Jonathan Grant Higgins of Plymouth, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He will be remembered for his brilliant mind, his evening stinger, his uncanny ability to quote poetry and Shakespeare, and the incredible patience it took for him to read all of the Oz books to each of his children.
Services will be private. Any person wishing to make a contribution in his name could do so to CRVNA Hospice House at 240 Pleasant Street, Concord, New Hampshire 03301.Send FlowersPlant a Tree