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Rufus Haynes Ritchie

1924 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Rufus Haynes Ritchie Obituary
Rufus Haynes Ritchie

Gilbert, AR

Rufus Haynes Ritchie, 92, of Gilbert, AZ, died Saturday, July 29, 2017, at the home of his daughter, Susan Ritchie Snowden. Born September 24, 1924, in Blue Diamond, KY, his parents were Rufus Ritchie and Eula J. Haynes.

Dr. Ritchie attended the University of Kentucky as an undergraduate and received a BS in EE in 1947. During WWII he served in the Army Air Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant and attended Kenyon College, Yale Communications Cadet School, Harvard University and MIT. He joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Health Physics Division in 1949, completing his work for the PhD in 1959. Dr. Ritchie is best known for his discovery and theoretical work on the surface plasmon, a collective mode in condensed matter, as a result of which he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics. In recognition of his achievements he has been awarded the Jesse W. Beams research award, a Royal Society Guest Fellowship, a Senior Visiting Fellowship from Churchill College, Cambridge University, an honorary PhD from the University of the Basque Country, a NATO Research Fellowship, a corporate Research Fellowship from Union Carbide Corporation, a Visiting Professorship from Aarhus University, Denmark, and from Odense University, Denmark. He supervised the advanced degree work of many students as a Professor of Physics and received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Tennessee. Active in the First Baptist Church of Oak Ridge for many years, he served as a deacon and several other positions and in recent years attended Grace Covenant Church. Happily married to Dorothy Estes for a wonderful 62 years, he is survived by their daughter Susan Ritchie Snowden; son David A. Ritchie; grandchildren June Ritchie, Dan Witkowski, Sonya Austin-Kim, Sean Austin, Alex Ritchie, Becca Ritchie, Krista Ritchie; great grandchildren Elana Thomas, Eva Dindinger, Rose Hunter, Austin Kim, Mia Kim, Sean Henry Austin; great-great grandchildren Osias Thomas and Augustus Hunter; a sister Jane Omohundro, a brother Alan H. Ritchie, and a brother Michael H. Ritchie. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2017, at 1:00 pm at Weatherford Mortuary with burial to follow at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. The family will be receiving friends from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. An online guest book can be signed at In lieu of flowers contributions may be sent to the Dorothy and Rufus Ritchie Endowment at the University of Tennessee, which provides student scholarships, for memorial tributes. Donors wishing to make gifts in memory of Dr. Rufus Ritchie may send a check payable to the UT Foundation at the address below. On memo line write: IMO Rufus Ritchie, RITCH_D. UT Foundation, Attention: Jane Gulley. 137 Alumni Memorial Building, 1408 Middle Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-1311. Additionally, donors may make a secure online gift via credit card with this link:
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on Aug. 2, 2017
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