Nancy Lou Ritchey
1943 - 2020
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Nancy Lou Ritchey

Las Cruces - Nancy Lou Ritchey, 76 of Las Cruces passed away peacefully, in the presence of her husband Sam and daughter Amy on Sunday, June 21, 2020. She touched so many lives and contributed generously to each community where Sam and she resided.

Nancy was born in Claremont, New Hampshire to Herman and Martha (Schweinfurth) Van Houten on September 16, 1943. She and her older brother Judd grew up together and she attended public schools in New Hampshire and high school in the Pittsburgh area. She graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, which included a year at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, where she majored in voice performance and piano.

Nancy met Samuel, the love of her life, at a Methodist church, when she was 16 and they married in Pittsburgh on December 18, 1965. They would have celebrated 55 years of marriage in December.

Nancy's second love had always been music and she served several churches and community choral groups as director, soloist and organist/pianist, including Littleton Community Church, which she and Sam founded in Colorado.

Before this time, she worked in the insurance industry in Denver for 18 years. She was a member of the senior management staff at Colorado Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and served as Regional Manager for the Western Insurance Information Service, recruiting and training speakers in 4 states and moderated on panels at industry events. She was named "Industry Person of the Year" in 1989 by the Professional Insurance Agents of Colorado.

When Sam and Nancy moved to Las Cruces in 1994, she joined Sam's Ritchey Marketing & Advertising, a firm he had started a few years prior. When Sam returned to the ministry in November 2002, they birthed Wellspring Church, with Nancy as music director. She was also a private voice, piano teacher and speech coach. She served as the Director of Mesilla Valley Chorale for the past 18 years and dearly loved her Wellspring and chorale "families".

She is survived by her spouse, Sam Ritchey; her daughter, Amy Stevens of Las Cruces; her son, Eric Ritchey and his wife Addie Ritchey of Salisbury, NC; grandsons, Tyler and Ryan Stevens of Elko, NV; grandsons, Jim and Jonathon Ritchey of Salisbury, NC; great grandson, Liam Stevens of Elko, NV; sister-in-law, Edye Van Houten of Fort Wayne, IN; nephew, Chris (Lisa) Van Houten of Churubusco, IN; cousin, John (Diane) Kerr of Elk River, MN; cousin, Bob (Cathy) Kerr of David, CA; cousin, Marie Barbato of Matthews, NC; sister-in-law, Marge Turk of Cedar Falls, IA; nephew, Greg (Lynn) Turk of Seattle, WA; niece, Kerri (Neil) Clopton of Waterloo, IA; cousin, Beth (Bob) Teeter of Altoona, PA; cousin, John (Barb) Martz of Loudon, TN; cousin, Christina (John) Dickhoff of Northhampton, PA and cousin, Linda (Derk) Alvis of Athens, WV. She is preceded in death by her parents, Herman and Martha Van Houten; her brother, Judson Van Houten; nephew, Mark Van Houten and mother-in-law, Marion Myers.

Due to Covid 19, formal services will not be held, however, a Celebration of Life will take place in Las Cruces, in the undetermined future.

A few of her many friends shared the following:

"Nancy was love personified. A shining light."

"Her joyous spirit and sparkling good nature were contagious."

"She was a wonderful inspiration to all she encountered."

"The best of the best. She touched so many lives in such a beautiful way."

"Nancy always made you feel special when you were around her."

"She always had such a positive attitude, one of encouragement to so many!!"

"She was always optimistic and had a beautiful smile."

"She was near and dear to my heart, like a sister."

"Nancy was an important light to many, many in our community, because she brought the light of music to us all."

"A beautiful person in all ways. An absolute delight!"

"She was a joyous light in our world and to anyone she met."

"Today she's leading a choir of angels singing in heaven."

"This morning felt a little darker and I realized some of our light (Nancy) left our community when it reunited with the Light."

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Las Cruces Sun News from Jun. 27 to Jun. 29, 2020.
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14 entries
July 24, 2020
Heaven has a special place for this super Lady. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sam and family.

Larry Tremitiere
July 20, 2020
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Caroline Bailey
July 5, 2020
ve never enjoyed singing in a choir as much as with Nancy, she will always be a bright light in my life. I would like to be notified of the celebration of life because I will drive out from California to attend
Diana krieger
July 3, 2020
Nancy was the most wonderful person and I'm blessed to have known her for many years. Sam and Nancy always treated me like one of their family.
Gerald Freeman
July 2, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ritchey family. We will always remember Nancy's smile, the stories she shared and her lovely spirit. May God bless you all during this difficult time.
Washington Federal Bank (Telshor)
July 1, 2020
I remember Nancy from the chorale concerts when I would go and see my mom perform with the chorale. She always had a lot of positive energy and was a great speaker. I liked how she made all of the songs special by describing the meaning of the song, sometimes with a funny personal story.

She seemed like a very smart, caring woman. She reminded me my mom in that she was a people person and liked to be active in the community
Steven DeMar
June 30, 2020
I am so HAPPY to have had the association of friendship and singer with Nancy. Her influence on my life will always be a precious gift.
Mary Ellen Varnell
June 29, 2020
Nancy was a excellent and amazing director for the mesilla valley chorale

William Gavin
William Gavin
June 29, 2020
Nancy was pure love energy.
Christine Richardson
June 29, 2020
What a beautiful picture and what a beautiful light in the world. Yes, the world is a bit dimmer without our dearest Nancy; but she will be born again and bring another beautiful light to us once again! Love and Peace to the Ritchey Family.
Terri Conatore
June 29, 2020
Nancy was always an inspiration, so positive and such a wonderful smile and personality.
Connie & Larry Candelaria
June 29, 2020
I feel grateful to have known Nancy for the time I lived in Las Cruces. She demonstrated the absolute best of spiritualitylove and caring for others, empathy, non-judgement. Music made with her was special. I will never forget her.
Beth Janda
June 29, 2020
Nancy will always live within our hearts and her spirit will always be there in a song or her beautiful smile.

Nancy's love of music and her compassion and love was a gift and a blessing to the all of us in the Mesilla Valley Chorale.

I will always remember our performances at the Rio Grande Theater and how Nancy would make a funny face to enlighten us and help us through our performance.

My condolences to her family. Nancy is among the angels now but her spirt and love will always remain with us.

Peace and love,
Susan DeMar
Susan DeMar
June 29, 2020
We were truly blessed to have Nancy and Sam in our lives. Nancy's joy at life was boundless and her love spread to all around her. We miss her dearly
Jo and Lloyd Knight
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