RITVO, James Meyers Cherished husband, father, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, and friend, passed away on August 10, 2011 of Montpelier, VT. All of us who loved Jim Ritvo, and there are many, will remember him as an exceptionally smart, compassionate, and delightfully funny man who approached the world with unshakeable kindness. No one can recall Jim saying a harsh word about anyone, with the exception of a few politicians, criminals, and the occasionally careless Patriot, Celtic, or Red Sox player. Jim's world centered on his adored wife Marjorie and their children Jesse and Molly. Their circle of consummate devotion is profoundly altered by their loss. The tremendous support of family and friends is gratefully acknowledged and will continue to be needed. Jim was born in 1946 in Newton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Tufts University and was awarded a Master's Degree in Urban Affairs from St. Louis University. His law degree was from Boston University College of Law. In 1975 he and Marjorie moved to Vermont and Jim began a thirty-year private law practice which specialized in helping families negotiate the legal system. His courtroom brilliance and his devotion to people in need merged with an antic but gentle sense of humor and earned him the nickname of "St. Jim" in northern Vermont. Jim was the president and one of the founders of Woodbury College in Montpelier. His dedication to justice in law and in life attracted excellent faculty colleagues and set Woodbury College on its course toward providing educational, legal, and family services to its students and clients. Jim's life was always aimed toward fairness, whether in court or, later in life, in film. Many of us remember "132 Main," Jim's weekly show on local cable access TV. He interviewed, with charm and delicacy, many people who have contributed to the richness of our lives in Vermont. His documentary films include "One Family: An Ethiopian Adoption"; "The Red Wagon: Facing Hunger,"; "On the Edge: Holes in the Vermont Health Care Safety Net"; and several films about art and education in Vermont. Turning from practicing law to film, Jim felt that the elements of being a good lawyer - being able to tell a client's story convincingly to a judge and jury - were directly applicable to documentary film making. As deeply serious as his commitments were to the public good, Jim knew how to have fun. Sitting with friends and family at his dining room table, Jim told hugely entertaining stories. He celebrated his 40th birthday with a big party at a roller skating rink. He spent Sunday mornings walking, swimming, skiing, watching baseball games and developing elaborate baseball statistics, always in the company of family and often his three especially dear friends Steve Pitonyak, Peter Collins, and Bob Buchicchio. Jim was wise, patient, and calm, which made him an exceptional listener and mentor. In Yiddish there is the word "mensch" to describe the decency, honor, warmth, kindness, intelligence, and steadfast character that one finds only in people who are beloved. Jim was a mensch. His life has added to the sum of good in the world. A celebration of Jim's life was held at Beth Jacob Synagogue on August 12, 2011. People who wish to honor Jim's life by making a charitable donation might consider Beth Jacob Synagogue in Montpelier, Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, the Vermont Food Bank, and Focus on Film in Montpelier. For those wishing to convey online condolences to the family, please visitwww.barber-lanier.com
Published by Boston Globe from Aug. 20 to Aug. 21, 2011.