Judy Ruggles was the youngest of five children born to Robert Warren and Claudia Wilcox Ruggles. She was born in Toronto, Canada on Nov. 5, 1935. The family moved back to their family home in Glens Falls, New York, a few months after she was born. She attended the local schools, she graduated from Glens Falls High School, and then attended the Plattsburgh State Teachers College for two years. Judy remained in Glens Falls until she married Sherwood LeFevre Ritchie at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 9, 1957.
Sherwood relished recounting their love story. He remembered the day in 1955, when he, home on August leave, first saw her when she walked by him. She was wearing Black Watch plaid Bermuda shorts and argyle knee socks, and he said, “She was such a knockout that I decided then and there that she was the gal for me!” They were married for 63 years; he got that one right.
Over the next several years, the Ritchies moved to various Naval Air facilities on the East Coast. Daughter Sarah was born in Pensacola, Florida, son Tom in Norfolk, Virginia, and then daughters Judy Ellen, in Key West, Florida, and Susan in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. In 1970 Sherwood received new orders and they moved to Coronado where Sherwood had been born in 1933, when his father was stationed there. As soon as they found a house to buy, they felt as though they had really come home. Judy, who thought she was an “East Coast Girl,” quickly adapted and never wanted to live anywhere else.
The duties and responsibilities of being a Navy wife, the mother of four active children, and the challenge of making warm and inviting homes with each transfer, had occupied Judy for several years. As the children grew older and more independent, she enjoyed several years working as a residential real estate agent in Coronado.
Renowned for her beauty, her sense of style and elegant taste, her verve, kindness and patience, her gentle humor, and her ability to be a warm and welcoming hostess and cook, Judy often astounded her friends and family for making it all look so easy. Characteristically unflappable and optimistic, she faced the inevitable stresses of life with the philosophy of “Just deal with it.”
Life at the Ritchies was never dull. The Ritchies were all good at making friends, and when they bought and moved into their house at 745 A Avenue, one could be assured that the dinner table had more than six chairs filled. Judy seemed to accept the ongoing feasts as a matter of course, making all feel welcome, appreciated, and loved. She could make order out of chaos and her laughter and her friendliness set the tone of her domain.
Judy and Sherwood cherished a wide circle of lifelong friends enjoying frequent dinner parties, tennis, Crown Club dances and relished evenings spent on their veranda. Judy loved nothing more than an afternoon spent shopping with her daughters, and nary an evening passed without a bourbon toddy.
Later, with their children grown and married, the couple “downsized” and moved to the Coronado Cays, and remained there, continuing their hospitality, and eventually on a somewhat smaller scale. As old age and the attendant illnesses came to them, they faced it together, with patience and good humor.
Judy departed this life peacefully, at home, in her own bed on Jan. 13, 2021, a little more than a year after Sherwood had passed. It was a long year, but they are together again.
Judy is survived by her children, Sarah (Chris) Holder, Tom (Kim) Ritchie, Judy (Chris) Hove, Susan (Kevin) Bratcher; 10 grandchildren; and her brother Donald Ruggles.