James W. “Tex” Ritter, Jr.

James W. “Tex” Ritter, Jr., 72, of 233 Hanes Drive, St. Marys, PA and Fort Worth, TX, passed away unexpectedly Monday, September 17, 2018, at his residence in St. Marys.

He was born November 25, 1945, in St. Marys, son of the late James W. Ritter, Sr. and Rita Sennett. Jim was a graduate of Lynnfield High School in Massachusetts and Colby College in Maine.  He then entered the United States Air Force, serving in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and later becoming a fighter pilot.  After retiring as a Major in the Air Force, Jim worked as a pilot for American Airlines and as a Reserve Police Officer in Fort Worth, TX.  He ended his working career as a Hood County Deputy Sheriff and Special Investigator in Grandbury, TX.

Jim spent his time between his homes in St. Marys and Fort Worth, TX. He was an avid reader and outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and farming.

On June 14, 2003, in Texas, Jim married Rita J. Griffith, who survives. He is also survived by a daughter, Amy Ritter Gibson and her husband, Dr. Michael Gibson, of Frederick, MD; a son, Dr. John D. Ritter and his wife Gina of Annapolis, MD; the mother of his children, Bonnie K. Ritter of Frederick, MD; and by three step children, Gena Bartlett of Fort Worth, TX, Wayne Jones and his wife Leigh Anne of Weatherford, TX, and Rebecca Ferris of Fort Worth, TX.  Also surviving are 10 grandchildren, Virginia, Abigail, Clara, Brittany, Tripp, Cashion, Grace, Taylor, Connor, and Jordan; one great granddaughter, Evelyn Rose; and by a brother, John Stephen Ritter and his wife Lynn of Seven Lakes, NC.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the St. Mary’s Church, St. Marys, PA, on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at 10:00 AM, with the Rev. Peter Augustine Pierjok, OSB, Pastor, officiating. Full military rites will be accorded by the St. Marys Servicemen’s Burial Detail.  Burial will follow in the St. Mary’s Cemetery in St. Marys, PA.

Visitation is at the Lynch-Radkowski Funeral Home, 169 Center Street, St. Marys, PA, on Friday, September 21, 2018, from 5:00 until 7:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made online at MyDuke Cancer Fund: James W. Ritter Jr. – Duke Cancer Institute. http://dccc.convio.net/site/TR/DIY/General?px=1283541&pg=personal&fr_id=1310 (Duke Cancer Institute, 710 West Main Street, Suite 200, Durham, NC  27701)

John Paul Erskine September 19, 2018 at 4:21 pm

My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Jim. Whether he was known by Jim, Jimmy, Tex or Detour, he touched many lives and was, many times, the wise voice of reason. His service in the military and as a Public Servant cannot be overlooked. He was a truly honorable man. Jim left us too soon, but will not be forgotten. Heaven has gained a loyal and faithful servant.

Don "Loco" Malatesta September 19, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Gone too soon, my friend. It was great to be a part of Headhunter events in your company.

Jason "CHILL" Wall September 20, 2018 at 3:18 pm

I had some good times and good conversations with Tex. I appreciated his strong effort leading the Headhunter association and keeping one of the best military unit’s traditions alive and well. It was an absolute bummer to be informed of his passing and hope his family finds peace as soon as possible. Thanks for your service Tex and your friendship–blue skies!


Ginny Wilson September 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm

Jim was a pleasure to know! He always made me laugh when we spoke. I’ll never forget the time he came to the Post Office with an old oil can and asked me if I had a paper towel. Luckily I asked him for what “So I can oil your squeaky door!” I told him he couldn’t do that because that’s how I know when customers come in! We both had a good laugh! Every time I hear that door squeak I’ll remember him!

Jay "JayBird" Riedel September 20, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Too soon, my friend, way too soon. Bonnie and I send our sincere condolences to Rita and the rest of your family. I will always remember you leading our fellow Headhunters/Juvats in the animated version of our Squadron song, “Twin Tailed Lightning.” May you rest in Peace and forever soar with the Eagles.

Steve Reynolds September 22, 2018 at 1:07 pm

Rita, John and Amy, Please accept mine and Terry’s sincere condolences. I will always consider him a close friend. Way too soon. Rest in peace my friend.

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