David John Ritchie
May 11, 1922 - August 12, 2011
David John Ritchie was born May 11, 1922, the third of six children, in Wibaux,
Montana, to Mack Frances Ritchie, a farmer, and Louise Martini Ritchie, a schoolteacher. His parents, who had
become devout Seventh-day Adventists, were determined to give their children a
Christian education in Adventist schools.
So in 1928 Mack sold his farm and loaded his family on the train to Bozeman,
Montana where they attended Mt. Ellis church school and academy, paying
tuition with proceeds from truck farming logging in the nearby mountains.
In December of 1941, two weeks after Pearl Harbor, Dave
was inducted into the US Army and entered training as a medic.
Following an honorable discharge after the loss of his right eye
to cancer, he continued farming near Whitehall, Montana. It was
there, in the midst of one of Montana's famous snowy winters, that
he met his "Sweetheart of the Rockies", Donna Jendresen. They were
married three years later on June 18, 1950, at the beginning of his
senior year at Walla Walla College (University).
During a summer of work on a Montana reservation, Dave
had developed a love and compassion for the American Indian
people and a desire to help better their lives. In 1961 he applied for a
position as a social worker with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. While
in that position he attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln,
where he received his Master of Social Work degree, and continued
serving in the BIA until his retirement in 1988.
Throughout his life he continued his love of gardening,
generously sharing produce with his Indian neighbors on the
reservation as well as church family and friends. Besides his garden
produce, he was well known for his whole-wheat bread, roasted
almonds and annual corn roast, featuring corn grown on the
acreage where he and Donna resided for 25 years near Winnebago,
Nebraska. In 1998 they sold the acreage and moved, coming full
circle back to College Place, where their life together had first begun.
Dave continued in the faith of his parents, and determined to
keep his children in Adventist schools through high school, even
when this meant separation from his family during the work week.
He was known for his deep love of his Lord and his service to Him
through his church in youth work, church offices, committees and
community service, until failing health forced him to stop these
activities one by one.
He is survived by his wife, Donna, at home; son David Lee
and companion, Candy Rushold, in Colorado; daughter Doris
Brueggeman (Dodie) in College Place; daughter Dixie Cramer
and husband Casey in WallaWalla; son Dan and wife Lauren in
Mississippi; granddaughters Ashlin McMillan of London, UK and
Nikki Brueggeman of College Place; youngest brother, Robert
and wife Barb of Sacramento, CA, and many nieces, nephews,
grandnieces and grandnephews. Besides his parents he was preceded
in death by his older brother and his three sisters.
A Celebration of Dave's Life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on
Sunday, September 4, 2011, in the Walla Walla City Seventh-day
Adventist Church, 2133 S. Howard, Walla Walla. Inurnment will
follow at Mount Hope Cemetery in College Place. In lieu of flowers
the family asks that donations of food and produce be made to the
Christian Aid Center. These may be brought to the service and left
in a designated place in the foyer. Memorial contributions may be
made to the Walla Walla City Church Worthy Student Fund through
Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, 1551 Dalles Military Road, Walla
Walla, WA 99362.
Friends may write memories and sign the online guestbook at