Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in the last year by graduates in 1970
Gerald "Jerry" A. Ritthaler ’63, MBA ’70: December 5th, 1941 - February 22nd, 2013. Jerry, to his three sons, family, and countless friends, lived life with boundless enthusiasm. He was known to start conversations with a family member, close friend, or perfect stranger (soon to be a friend) by telling them about the best food he's ever had in this life, the greatest game or play he's ever seen, the nicest person he's ever met, or something very simple to the rest of us that simply amazed him. Pops would end the story with the declaration, How cool is that? It sounded like a question, but it was more of a statement about his zest for life and optimism. His enthusiasm was contagious and brought a smile or a laugh to everyone who came into his life, each and every day. Born on December 5, 1941 to Jaconda and Philip Ritthaler in Sacramento, CA, Jerry was destined to make friends and make a strong 1st impression from the day he was born. He grew up in the Sacramento area and attended college at Santa Clara University where he earned a Bachelor's and Master's Degree. After college, he had a successful business career in sales at General Foods, Sunshine Biscuits, and Kroger. Jerry's Bay area roots were an early indicator of one of his great loves in life sports. From the time he could yell and listen to a game on the radio, he developed a great passion for sports, and this passion never wavered for a second. He cheered early and often for the Raiders and Athletics because of his strong California ties, and he never stopped cheering for his beloved Oakland teams, but he added many teams in Georgia to his shirt and hat collection when he moved to Georgia in 1979. Once his three boys Mike, Mark, and Matt attended and graduated from the University of Georgia, he was destined to be a life-long Dawgs fan. Pops also had enough spirit in his heart to add the Falcons to his list of football teams he pulled for. Sundays in the fall were never dull with Jerry around, and he always had the game on and a rooting interest in the outcome no matter who was playing. One of Jerry's other great sports loves was baseball. He started out an Oakland A's fan while in the Bay Area, but after moving to Georgia, he quickly adopted the Atlanta Braves as his favorite team. Pops was always ready to head to the ballpark and watch his beloved Braves with anyone who would go with him. No matter how many times they broke his heart in October, he was ready again the following spring, enthusiastic and full of optimism. When he was not in Atlanta, he was always looking for a good deal on some tickets so he could catch the local team and enjoy a few cold ones at the ball park. Pops also brought this love for baseball to his family. He coached his sons in little league baseball in Scotts Valley, CA, teaching them the fundamentals and never missing a game, but more than anything he taught them a love for baseball, sports, and competition. Pops kept the family baseball tradition and love of sports alive with his grandchildren, attending Matthew's baseball and hockey games, Katie's softball and gymnastics, Daniel's baseball and basketball, and Evan's baseball games. He was a fan of his sports teams and an even bigger fan of his boys and grandchildren. Later in his life, Jerry had the good fortune to meet Marilou, who became his wife in 2011. They enjoyed a loving and devoted marriage for 2 + all too short years, but they filled that time up with passion, laughter, and a great appreciation for the opportunity to find true love late in life. Jerry and Marilou shared their devotation to their Catholic Faith and attended church and bible study regularly together. The marriage of Jerry and Marilou also allowed two families to meet each other and become one as Mike and Daniel, Mark and Mary Beth along with Katie and Matthew, and Matt and Kim were able to meet Michelle and Scott Whitehead and their children Erin and Evan to create a new and loving family. Jerry's gift of bringing people together will never be forgotten. Pops was a father figure to many of his sons' close friends in the Dunwoody, GA area. Now and forever, all of those who were fortunate enough to meet Pops will remember him for his stories. He never bragged about himself, but he never stopped telling proud stories about his sister Phyllis and her husband Scott, the good people he met through his charitable work, the love he had for the choir at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Historic Sweet Auburn, and whomever he was going to meet tomorrow. Jerry had an opinion on everything and it was almost always a positive, kind, and hopeful one. Pops will be greatly missed but never forgotten. If the question is, How cool was that man? The answer is The Coolest of them All.ö We will hear his joyful voice in our heads for the rest of our lives. When Pops passes thru the gates of heaven, a crowd will welcome him. Some will have known him well, others simply heard he was coming, and then he will get back to work checking on his earth bound family and friends. Jerry is survived by his wife, Marilou Ritthaler, of Alpharetta; sons, Mike Ritthaler, of San Rafael, CA, Mark (wife, Mary Beth) Ritthaler, of Atlanta, Matt (wife, Kim) Ritthaler, of San Francisco, CA, step-daughter, Michelle (husband, Scott) Whitehead, of Cumming; grandchildren, Katie Ritthaler, Matthew Ritthaler, Daniel Ritthaler, Erin Whitehead, and Evan Whitehead; sister, Phyllis (husband, Scott) Keilholtz, Sacramento, CA and Nephew Erik Keilholtz (wife, Melanie and daughter, Amalia) of Vallejo, CA.