Lelah Avis Ritz left to go to the “Big Dance” Saturday night, Feb. 1, 2014. She had a date with her husband Ted whom she dearly missed and hadn’t seen in eight years.
Posted March 28, 2014
She was 83 years old, and while she was ready to go, we were all sad to see her leave when Ted came and took her hand for another dance. At the end, she was surrounded by all of her family whom she, ironically enough, wished well. Ultimately, she died of congestive heart failure and Leukemia.
She was the first born to the late William and Amanda Bell on Feb. 23, 1930 at Dunn Center, N.D. She was raised on a farm and graduated from Dunn Center High School where she “starred” on the girl’s basketball team. From there she went on to Mankato Commercial College. After school she went to work for the Dakota National Bank for five years.
In 1952 she met and married her husband Ted Ritz. After five years they moved to Billings, Mont. where they raised their five children and cherished 54 years of marriage together. Ted had his own business where he traveled and sold cleaning supplies, ran a car wash and sold tires. All the while, Lelah kept the books and “kept the home fires burning” while he was away on his weekly routes.
Lelah liked making quilts, crocheting, and “lots” of reading. She loved to shop and travel and go to the movies and even enjoyed an occasional trip to the casino! She was a member of the Catholic Daughters and Holy Rosary Church and followed in Ted’s footsteps donating much of her spare time to working at the Saint Vincent DePaul Society helping to write checks, write the bulletin and keep their books in order. In later years, she kept the books for her son David and his Little Job Guy business. She always kept in touch with friends and family by phone and email and enjoyed more than anything being surrounded by all of her family. In recent years she particularly enjoyed sitting at the computer with her great-grandson on her lap watching the live cam at the San Diego Zoo. When the great grandkids showed up at “Gigi’s” she smiled, laughed and seemed to forget all of her troubles.
Lelah is survived by two sisters and a brother, all of Killdeer, N.D.
They are Doris Henderson, Norene Gunwall and Leo Bell (Fran). Her five children are Janice Coffman (Gene), Corrine Kelly (Jim), David Ritz (Dixie), Don Ritz (Lori), and Randy Ritz (Shelli). She leaves behind ten grandchildren, Carrie Smith (John), Jason Mueller (Heather) and Chris Wilkins, Jennah Ritz and Matyea Nolan, Monica and Shawn Davis, Kailey and Kevin Ritz, and Carli Ritz.
Her three great grandchildren are Dane and Grant Mueller and Aiden Nolan.