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James P. "Jim" Ritter

1930 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James P. "Jim" Ritter Obituary
Ritter, James P. "Jim"Former State Representative James P. "Jim" Ritter, 84, of Allentown, passed away on May 4, 2015. Born in Allentown on October 30, 1930, he was the son of the late Pierce A.C. Ritter and Rose (Deutsch) Ritter. He was married for over 56 years to the late Faye E. (Morrissey) Ritter, who died in 2007, and they had three children, one granddaughter, and two great-granddaughters. Ritter graduated from Allentown High School in 1948; he later completed courses in Mechanical Engineering with the International Correspondence School and attended PA State University Extension School. He served in the U.S. Army Security Agency during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Sgt. 1st Class. Upon his honorable discharge from the Army in 1954, Ritter worked as a design draftsman at PA Power & Light Co. and Lehigh Structural Steel in Allentown. In 1961, he was elected Alderman (now called District Justice), and he was re-elected in 1967 to that post. In 1964, Ritter was elected to the PA House of Representatives, representing Allentown, and he was re-elected eight more times, ending his tenure in 1982. During his time as a state legislator, Ritter served in various leadership roles. He chaired the House Federal-State Relations Committee and later became the Democratic Policy Committee Chair, making him one of only a few Lehigh Valley legislators (to that time) who had ever served as members of PA House leadership. He also served on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and chaired the PA Intergovernmental Council. Ritter served on various boards and worked with many civic and youth organizations in Allentown and Lehigh County. He served on the Board of Directors of the Police Athletic League, the Allentown Police Pension Board, the board of the Lehigh County Senior Citizens Association, and the Lehigh County Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. He was also active with both Mountainville and East Side Little Leagues in Allentown, including serving as the Umpire-in-Chief for both Mountainville and Little League District 20 (Lehigh Valley area). In 1969, he received the "Man of the Year Award" from the Allentown Police Lodge. For over 50 years, Ritter was an avid league bowler, including many years as a team captain and league secretary. He also enjoyed golf and, until just a few years ago, played in a league on Tuesday evenings - and every other chance he had! Jim and Faye used to enjoy going on cruises, spending time with their friends, and feeding the birds and other "critters" in their back yard. Ritter was proud of his gardens and, in earlier years, won many ribbons for his roses. In his backyard workshop, he produced beautiful woodworking projects, including a rocking horse he lovingly built for his only granddaughter, Jamie. An animal lover, Jim and his Pomeranian, Rosie, were popular in the assisted living facilities where they resided in the last few years. Jim Ritter had a great sense of humor, the highest standards of integrity, and spent his life helping others and serving the public. He was devoted to Faye and was her sole caretaker for over seven years during her battle against COPD. He will be sorely missed by his loving family and friends. Survivors: Daughter, former State Rep. Karen Ritter, and her husband, Robert Wolper, of Quakertown; son Steven Ritter and his wife, Gail, of Allentown; son David Ritter of Walnutport; granddaughter, Jamie Faye Ritter of Allentown, and two great-granddaughters, Madyson Rose Ritter-Miller and Haylie Jade Ritter; brothers Dale Ritter and his wife, Lynn, of Walnutport, and Dennis Ritter and his wife, Sandy, of Bethlehem; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and two brothers, Thomas Ritter and Daniel Ritter. Services: A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at Stephens Funeral Home, Inc., 1335 Linden Street, Allentown, with Rev. Jimmy Lee Werley officiating. Call 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Funeral Home prior to the service. www.stephensfuneral.com. Interment will be private, at the convenience of the family. Contributions: Humane Society of L.C., 640 Dixon St., Allentown 18103 or .
Published in Morning Call on May 5, 2015
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