LURAY, Va. - Ethel Maria (Lunsford) Ritz, 91, died peacefully Feb. 25, 2014, at her residence in Luray, Va., after a long illness. She was born Nov. 16, 1922, in Marshall, Va., the daughter of Edgar M. and Ethel M. (Wines) Lunsford.
She was raised on the family homestead with her eight siblings. She graduated valedictorian of the class of 1940 from Marshall High School. During World War II, Ethel worked at the Pentagon where she met her future husband, George A. Ritz. They were married on Dec. 31, 1945, after his return from the Pacific Campaign.
She raised five children as well as providing child care for many others. She delighted in teaching the girls (and boys) to sew. When not caring for children, she enjoyed working in her vegetable and flower gardens and quilting. She also worked as a medical billing clerk for many years.
Ethel was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church and was very active in United Methodist Women, mission activities, and Girl Scouting.
The final three years of her life were lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains, high on Ginger's Ridge in Luray, Va., overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. The family is very thankful for the loving care provided during these years by special niece, Ginger Lunsford.
Ethel was greeted on the other side of God's curtain by her husband, George; all of her siblings; and two grandchildren, Andrea and Brian. She is survived by her children and their spouses, George and wife, Sylvia, of Bradford, Karen and husband, Terry Ritz-Perkins, of Hampden, David and fiancée, Nancy, of Lyman, Crilly and wife, Martha, of Kenmore, Wash., and Eric and wife, Mary, of Pen Argyle, Pa. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, Jeremy Ritz of Portland, Stephen Ritz-Perkins of Hampden, Hannah Gagnon of Gray, Nicole Pinkham of Biddeford, Jennifer Carr of Hellertown, Pa., John Ritz of Maryd, Pa., Elizabeth Scotti and Joshua Ritz of Warwick, R.I., Crilly A. and Marshall of Kenmore, Wash., Sarah Swain of Mount Carmel, Conn., and George Menth, U.S. Army deployed. Ethel was also blessed with 12 surviving great-grandchildren, and many nieces, and nephews.
Ethel enjoyed living in many places, but considered Maine her home. She and George were especially happy during their years at Hilltop Manor in Bradford.
A Celebration of Life will be held at East Corinth United Methodist Church at a date to be announced later in the spring. Burial will be at the family plot in Bradford. Those who would like to remember Ethel in a special way may make a donation in her memory to Corinth United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 17, Corinth, ME 04427; or Andrea Ritz Clinics in Paraguay, 572 Main Road, Bradford, ME 04410.