Bernard "Gene" Eugene Ritzinger
Bernard Eugene Ritzinger, known to his friends and loved ones as Gene, died on November 5,
2017 at his home, surrounded by family, after a long illness.
Born in Jersey City, NJ, in 1930, Gene was the eldest child of Bernard Eugene and Florence Cowan Ritzinger. He joined the Navy at 19, serving 4 years, primarily in the submarine service aboard the USS Cutlass.
Gene began his journalism career at Michigan State University as an editor of the student newspaper and campus correspondent for the Detroit Free Press. He also worked before graduation as a reporter for the Grand Rapids Herald in Michigan. At Michigan State, Gene met Joan Cathleen Edwards and they were wed in 1957.
Upon graduation Gene joined the Wall Street Journal in NYC. He was transferred 2 years later to their Detroit bureau where he reported on the automobile industry. He was hired in 1964 by General Motors as a public relations executive in Detroit. Transferred in 1967 to Washington DC, as correspondent to the company's Sr. management, Gene reported on what transpired at congressional and regulatory agency hearings affecting the auto industry during a period of intense government scrutiny. Additionally, he wrote speeches for GM executives.
In 1973 Gene joined John Deere at its HQ in Moline, Illinois where he wrote hundreds of speeches for principal officers, as well as magazine articles, booklets, brochures, legislative testimony, financial reports, and letters needing careful answers on behalf of John Deere.
Gene retired in 1991 and he and Joan moved to Seattle, buying a home in suburban Lake Forest Park. In retirement he joined a Seattle tour company as a weekend summer driver/guide for about 9 years; there he provided tourists with narration covering Seattle's sites and history.
In 2003 Gene began volunteering at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle. This led to part-time employment as a uniformed guide, a position he loved and held until 2013.
A news junkie, Gene was an avid reader of newspapers, magazines, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and history. He and Joan travelled abroad several times and enjoyed movies, plays, concerts and opera together. Gene was a devoted fan of the Seattle Mariners.
Gene is survived by his wife, Joan, as well as their children: Catherine J. Ritzinger, David (Andrew) Eugene Ritzinger and Jennifer E. Ritzinger, all residing in Seattle, as well as Sarah (Sallie) E. Ritzinger and grandson Dylan Phifer both of Everett; also his sister, Grace McDevitt of North Bergen NJ, and his brother, Gerard Ritzinger of Southport NC. He is preceded in death by his brother, Francis Ritzinger, and his sister, Marion Ritzinger Graham.
At Mr. Ritzinger's request there will be no public funeral services. Remembrances may be made to a charity of your choice
Please sign Gene's online Guestbook at www.Legacy.com