Sherwood LeFevre Ritchie - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Obituaries

Sherwood LeFevre Ritchie

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Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 12:25 pm

The oldest child of Helen Elizabeth LeFevre Ritchie and Thomas Calvin Ritchie, Sherwood LeFevre Ritchie was born in Coronado during his father’s duty station there. His father was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Class of 1924. His mother was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Sherwood LeFevre of Glens Falls, New York. His sister, Harriet Davidson was born in 1936, also in Coronado, when his parents were reassigned on separate duty to Coronado.

Sherwood’s life as a Navy junior included being relocated numerous times and the result was that he attended several schools before his father retired in 1945. One of his clearest memories was listening on the radio about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

After the war, the family, which now included sister, Helen-Thomas, born in 1942, moved to Hardy, Arkansas where he attended the University of Arkansas before being awarded a Congressional appointment to the Naval Academy, following in his father’s footsteps. 

During August leave visiting his family in Glens Falls in 1955, he met the love of his life and future wife, the very beautiful Judy Ruggles. He was, simply, stunned by her. Married in 1957, they enjoyed 62 years of marriage and their four children; Sarah, Thomas, Judith and Susan. 

Upon graduation from the Naval Academy in 1957 he reported for S2F flight training in Pensacola, Florida and served as a Naval aviator in anti-submarine warfare. He served a tour with VS-30 in Norfolk, Virginia, was a flight instructor in Key West, Florida, was stationed at Quonset Point Rhode Island, where he was on staff at CAG 52 and with VS-28, served as the LSO on the USS Yorktown, and taught for two years at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1970 he was stationed in Coronado where he felt he had come home. At NASNI he served on the COMNAVAIRPAC staff. He retired as a commander in 1977 and entered the commercial real estate business with his newly formed company, the Cotton Ritchie Corporation, in San Diego, and pursued a long, successful and rewarding career in that field. 

Noted for his keen sense of humor, his legendary story-telling, his ability to puncture the balloons of the pompous and high and mighty, and his enormous well of common sense, he enjoyed a long list of devoted friends who remained in his life over the years. He and Judy were consummate hosts and their dinner table was populated with family, great friends, great food, and howls of laughter. A standing family joke was that his tombstone would say, “That reminds me of a story.” 

Of all the places he lived, Coronado was by far his favorite location and he remained living here for just shy of 50 years. He was a devoted family man, he adored a great tennis match and a good martini, and relished having kith and kin from all over the country visit them, where they entertained with great generosity of spirit and loving attention. This included the many friends of his children as well.

His devotion to family, country, and community was remarkable and by any standard, he embodied a life well lived.

Sherwood is survived by his beloved bride Judy; his children, Sarah (Chris) Holder, Tom (Kim) Ritchie, Judy (Chris) Hove, Susan (Kevin) Bratcher; 10 grandchildren, Thomas Holder, John Holder, Will Holder, Currie Ritchie, Sophia Ritchie, Hudson Ritchie, Sarah Hove, Carolyn Hove, Meg Hove, Erin Henry; and by his sister Helen-Thomas Donnelly.