If you are a frequent reader of the CK Senior, you may remember Muriel Ritchie from issue 24. We had an article celebrating her 102nd birthday! Regrettably, on October 17th, 2022, Muriel passed away at the age of 107. Here is Muriel’s Obituary, which can be found in the Obituaries & Tributes section at www.chatham.mckinlayfuneralhome.com.
September 13, 1915, to October 17, 2022
Our amazing matriarch has passed on in her 107th year. MOM LOVED and CARED FOR HER FAMILY to the best of her abilities. She always had room in her tireless, indomitable spirit, to share her loving, inspirational, caring nature. If you were fortunate enough to know her, you became her extended family. A very loyal friend and advocate for the underdog, she would give you the shirt off her back and if she had an extra penny, she would share half of it with you.
She believed in God’s work, teaching bedtime prayers and meal graces to her children. She respected all of God’s creations. Our family home included a cat, dog and the beautiful singing of canaries and the chatting of budgies. The neighbourhood stray cats always had a supper meal waiting on her side porch. Even the neighbour’s well fed, almost blind basset hound named “Pokey” would slowly saunter along on his daily trip to our front door for his morning peanut butter toast! She tried her best to create a welcoming home. Her Sunday dinners included her best tablecloth and china.
She found further purpose and camaraderie through volunteering with:
1) The Legion, Chatham Branch 28 now 642, Ladies Auxiliary, faithfully marching every Remembrance Day, serving on the executive as President and Chaplain. She obtained her 65th pin and became a LIFETIME member.
2) The Women of the Moose, Chatham Chapter 304. Joined in 1953 becoming a LIFETIME member.
3) various charitable events.
She would offer her skill at “READING TEA LEAVES” There was always a pot of tea on her table for sharing time and laughter. Often giving immediate family a very biased teacup reading with lots of hope and inspiration included.
For a short time, she owned a racehorse and very much enjoyed attending the Dresden horse races limiting her weekly visit betting to $20.00.
She was a frequent shopper at Bibles for Missions-she collected china loving to repurpose her purchases-everyone received gifts for all occasions. Mom also worked outside the home for financial security. She was frugal, always reviewing the latest sale flyers.
In the early 1950’s she discovered her passion for real estate, becoming the first real estate lady in Chatham. She purchased a spectrum of properties which she cared for, refurbishing them to sell.
As a variety store owner, she would offer immediate credit to buy food. Her charity was learned firsthand living through the depression on her Uncle Alfred’s farm for their survival.
In her late 80’s she purchased an 1893 Knox Church in Kent Bridge with the hopes of a future tea house with a Godly presence. Refurbishing was started but sold it at age 91.
Being fiercely independent, it was only at age 95 that she would agree to transition from her single detached home into a non-senior associated apt., residing there until age 104. At age 104 she was welcomed into Chatham’s St. Andrew’s residence retirement community. At age 106 she transitioned into long term care at Riverview Gardens in Chatham.
At a very young age she developed a passion for reading. An insatiable reader of novels, those books took her places, she was unable to go. She read different newspapers and had fun sharing the horoscopes with us. As a lifelong learner she went back to school @ age 55 to learn NEW MATH to keep up with her high school children. In her early 60’s she enrolled at Windsor’s St. Clair College campus, commuting daily offering rides to other students.
With her beautiful smile and infectious laugh, she delivered these quotes and sustaining mantras.
“I’m for the Birds!” OR “You’re for the Birds”!
“No matter what you own or position you hold WE ALL end up as DUST!”
“The shroud has no pockets”
“Be grateful that you have 2 arms and 2 legs and a brain to think with and that your clothes are clean and paid for!”
When asked: “Muriel what is the secret to your longevity?” She would reply, “I had to work hard inside and outside of my home-I always keep busy”. Her longevity was because she was a GIVER. Her true elixir in life was in her belief that “IT IS IN GIVING ONE RECEIVES”. She would often say, holding her hand up while throwing a kiss to the sky, “I don’t know why God is keeping me around so long!”
PERHAPS, because MOM still needed to GIVE. In her last lucid moments, she spoke “I want to go, God Bless us and PLEASE BE HAPPY!”
Her physical presence has passed but Her spirit resides within her family and those lives she embraced. She is always with us. BECAUSE OF HER existence.
Mom leaves the LIVING LEGACY OF 96 DESCENDANTS.
The mother of 9 children, Grandmother of 23, Great Grandmother of 38, Great, Great, Grandmother of 25, GREAT, GREAT, GREAT, GRANDMA of 1. Also blessed with devoted, caring daughter and son in laws.
Wherever her energies are now, no doubt she is in the presence of her predeceased family and friends.
Likely Reading, giving a meal, wrapping a present to give, marching for those who sacrificed for our freedom, selling real estate, sharing her loving smile and laugh over a pot of tea, reading their tea leaves.
HER CHARACTER-BUILDING JOURNEY TIMELINE of NOTEABLE FACTS
She was Born on a dairy farm in Dresden Ontario, living her entire 107 yrs. of life in around the area of Chatham Kent, Ontario.
Muriel Elladeana Benn was the eldest of 5 to siblings Orville, Charles, Donna,
Melba. At age 14 her mother, Leona Eva Benn (nee: Ripley) passed on in 1930. Her father remarried bringing 5 more children into the family. She learned to drive on a stick shift model T Ford. At age 17 she married Clement P. Ritchie, becoming a mother at age 18. Over the next 19 yrs. she was the mother of 9 to Clement Jr., Patrick, Gary, Ted, Connie, Diane, Anne, Norman, Nancy.
She was married for almost 52 yrs. and divorced at age 69, living a contented life.
Mom lived through the 1918 pandemic, World War 1, the Depression, World War 2 and the 2020 pandemic with the help of vaccinations/boosters. Her favourite flowers were pansies, as was her Mother Leona’s
IN HER MEMORY
Continue her legacy of giving to those in need. Be it in a smile, kind gesture or a hand up or a handout. Be charitable with all including yourself, BE GRATEFUL and HAPPY
IT WAS AN HONOUR TO CARE FOR AND LOVE HER.
THANK YOU TO THOSE THAT HELPED MAINTAIN AND SUPPORT HER JOURNEY.
– Shared by Nancy in loving memory of her mother, Muriel.