William "Tex" Ritter

Obituary
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William Ritter

William Oren Ritter, "Tex", 86, of Lothian and former longtime resident of Bethesda, died February 14 at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

He was born Jan. 17, 1925, in Nash ville, Tenn., to Herman S. and Nona L. (Marles) Ritter, where he was raised, and graduated from Hillsboro High School. He attended the then Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech), where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering. While at Georgia Tech, he was a quarterback for the Yellow Jackets and played in the Orange and Sugar Bowls. He also played basketball and golf.

While at Tech, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign in 1946. He was qualified in naval aircraft catapult and arresting gear equipment, and received the American Area WWII Victory Medal. Upon his graduation from Tech and discharge from the Navy, Tex was drafted by the Washington Redskins and also played one year with the Philadelphia Eagles.

He later worked in insurance sales and was a sales manager for an Oldsmobile dealership in Washington, D.C. He worked as an aeronautical engineer with Lockheed from 1956 to 1961 at various locations throughout the U.S., and later worked in aircraft sales at North American Aviation in the Washington, D.C. area. In 1971, Tex opened Ritter Datsun automobile dealership in Waldorf, which he operated for several years and owned for over 20 years. He later owned Ritter Chevrolet in Mechanicsville. In the mid 1970s, Tex began a successful career as a well known lobbyist in the defense industry in Washington, D.C.

Tex was a member of numerous clubs and organizations, including Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Burning Tree Country Club in Bethesda, the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Capitol Hill Club. He was one of the original Old Masters, a member of the Gridiron Club in Washington, D.C., and the Military Order of the Carabao, a social club consisting of members of the U.S. military. Tex had a lifelong love of singing and had performed for seven different Presidents of the United States. In his leisure time, Tex enjoyed playing golf, riding his lawn tractor cutting grass, traveling extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, and ocean cruises.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty B.; and a brother, Gerald Ritter.

He is survived by four children and their spouses, William E. and Betty Ritter of Mechanicsville, Rodney B. and Lisa Ritter of Port Republic, Robert D. and Kristy Ritter of Orlando, Fla. and Deborah C. and Alan Fluke of Raleigh, N.C.; his companion of 25 years, Deloras Ward, and her two daughters, Wanda W. DeBord and her husband Michael, and Wendy A. Cator and her husband Larry, all of Lothian; 16 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 19 at Rausch Funeral Home, P.A., 8325 Mt. Harmony Lane, Owings, where a memorial service and celebration of Tex's life will follow at 2 p.m. Interment will be at Southern Memorial Gardens in Dunkirk. Expressions of sympathy in Tex's name may be made to Hospice of St. Mary's County, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650. www.RauschFuneralHomes.com

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Published in The Capital on Feb. 17, 2011
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