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John M. RitchMarch 24, 1942 ~ August 4, 2017 (age 75)
John Michael Ritch, age 75, of East Grand Rapids peacefully passed away Friday, August 4, 2017. John was born March 24, 1942 in Manhattan, New York to the late Harry and Margaret Ritch. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 31 years, Linda Yeager Ritch; children Kevin Ritch, Brendan Ritch, Bryan (Masako) Ritch, Eric (Adrienne) Liggett, Laura (Robert) Liggett Swain, Carl Liggett, Padrick (Naomi) Ritch; grandchildren Natalie and Isabel Swain, Dillon and Makana Ritch, and Lenox Liggett. John is also survived by a brother Peter. A loving and devoted grandfather, John’s older 4 grandchildren were the center of his universe. He had the joy of meeting and holding his youngest grandchild, Lenox, just a few weeks ago when her parents brought her from San Francisco to meet Opa.
John graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master’s of Science Degree in Community Health and Health Education from the Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York. John also earned the Fellowship Credential (FACHE) and the Diplomat Credential (CHE) from the American College of Healthcare Executives.
John’s career in health care saw him in various roles from being Vice President of Clinical Services at Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Executive Vice President with Brooks Rehab Services (formerly GNA & Associates), Executive Director of the Peter M. Wege Center for Health and Learning at St. Mary’s Health Care, and before retirement was Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy and Health Professions Program at Grand Valley State University. He also served as head of the departments of Physical Therapy and Allied Health Services.
Active in the community, John donated his time and served on boards of various professional and community organizations. Most notably he served as president of the board for the Conductive Learning Center; board member of Ronald McDonald House; council member, usher, and committee member at Trinity Lutheran Church; and a trustee of Oktoberfest West Michigan hosted by the Edelweiss Club Grand Rapids. He was also a 40+ gallons donor to Michigan Blood.
John’s interests included golf, gardening, and opera. He seldom missed an opportunity to golf at Kent Country Club and served on the Board of Directors of Wolverine Golf Association. Saturday afternoons usually found him puttering in the garden with a live performance from the Metropolitan Opera booming from the radio perched on the garage windowsill.
John will be greatly missed by his family and friends. The funeral service celebrating John’s life will be held 11am on Saturday, August 12th with visitation from 10-11am at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2700 Fulton Street East, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. Visitation will be held at the Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 4291 Cascade Rd. SE on Friday, August 11th from 4-7pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, the Conductive Learning Center in Grand Rapids, or Trinity Lutheran Church.
American Cancer Society
129 Jefferson Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids MI 49508
Trinity Lutheran Church
2700 Fulton Street East, Grand Rapids MI 49506
Conductive Learning Center
2428 Burton St. S.E., Grand Rapids MI 49546