Vivian Eleanora Ritchey Brown, my husband’s mother, was driving home to Nebraska for her Uncle James’ funeral when she was involved in a car accident and died. So tragic for the family – Ritchey was only twelve.
from The Nebraska Signal, Geneva, Nebraska
James E. Ritchey Fillmore Pioneer Called by Death
James Eben Ritchey, the third child of Charles Henry and Lucinda Jewell Ritchey, was born near Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois, December 19, 1879. When he was a very small child, the family moved to Iowa. They lived there for a year and then moved to Nebraska. The trip was made in a covered wagon. They settled near Geneva, and he had been a resident of Fillmore County the remainder of his life. He attended school in the Blaine district and the Ward School in Geneva.
Throughout his entire life he loved the farm and livestock and continued in that occupation until failing health forced him to retire.
He chose Baina Melcena Cellan as his life’s companion and they were united in marriage in Geneva, Nebraska, October 11, 1906. Together they shared the joys and sorrows of life for 59 years. Death severed this union October 23, 1965, when his devoted wife was called to her heavenly home. Their greatest joys were their four children, 16 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. His daily concern and devotion for his family is a precious memory to all of them.
He was a member of the Evangelical United Brethren Church of Geneva. In December, 1960, he and his companion retired in Fairmont. He suffered the loss of both legs several years ago, but through all his suffering, he was ever cheerful and an inspiration to his many friends. After suffering a heart attack, he lay down the cares of his life and entered his eternal home at 5:30 p.m., May 1, 1967, at the age of 87 years, 4 months and 12 days. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, three brothers, Charles, Elmer and Arthur, and four sisters, Miranda Swett, Mary Ames, Maude and Edith.
The four children to cherish the memory of a loving father are Mildred Beryl Talkington of Inavale, Nebraska, Rouene Winnifred Pittard of Geneva, Donald Raymond Ritchey of Fort Worth, Texas, Evelyn Marguerite Neubaum of Oakdale, California. The 16 grandchildren are Ardell, Mildred, Joyce, Eldon, Dale and Donna Lee Talkington, Roger Pittard and Joan Schelkopf, John, Charles, Linda, Paul, Mary Ann and Lisa Ritchey, Sharon Arpoika and Stephen Neubaum. His great-grandchildren are James Archie and Rebecca Talkington, Cathy, Kent and Mark Pittard, Jan and John Schelkopf and Colette Ritchey.
Also surviving are his daughter-in-law, Marie Ritchey, three sons-in-law, John Pittard, Edgar Neubaum and Clarence Talkington, one brother, Frank Ritchey of Fairmont, three sisters-in-law, Edith Ritchey, Ora Peters and Ella Cellan; also a number of nieces and nephews and a large circle of friends.
Funeral services were held at the Kritner-Farmer Funeral Home in Geneva, at 2 p.m., May 6, with Rev. Clifford Bahr, officiating. “Abide With Me,” “Beyond the Sunset,” and “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” were sung by Sheldon Johnson, accompanied by his wife, Mary Johnson. Casketbearers were Vern Domeier, Michael O’Brien, Theodore Petersen, Cecil Richards, Arthur Riel and George Stutzman, Sr. His body was laid to rest in the Geneva cemetery by the side of his beloved wife.