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Leonard J.A. Ritchey

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Leonard J.A. Ritchey

Leonard J.A. Ritchey of Carlton, Minn., was blessed with 94 joyful years of life before his peaceful departure on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in the care of his family. Leonard was born on Aug. 13, 1920, on his family homestead in Lorain Township, Wis., to Helen Wodtke Ritchey and Myles Lee Ritchey. He grew up on the family farm and graduated from high school in Frederic, Wis. Leonard worked on the family farm and in Chicago, Ill., until he entered the Army Air Corp in 1942. During World War II, as a 2nd Lieutenant, Leonard was certified to pilot most military aircraft, flew missions transporting troops and equipment, and trained new pilots. After the war, Leonard returned to the Lorain Township area where he met a sweet schoolmarm, Merlene Clay, whom he married. Leonard and Merlene began raising a family on the farm. Later, Leonard was employed by Conoco Oil Company and moved his family to the Carlton area. Leonard and Merlene built a home on Lake La Belle, where the family enjoyed water skiing and boating. Leonard enjoyed hunting and fishing, and his favorite wintertime activity was snowmobiling with the Jay Cooke Ridge Runners. Leonard remained in the Active Airforce Reserves, piloting airplanes and continuing to serve the community over two decades as a captain and commander of the Civil Air Patrol in northern Minnesota, until his honorable discharge in 1968. He also served the community's youth by teaching firearm and snowmobile safety courses and as a council member for the area Boy Scouts of America. Later, he became a member of the local Kiwanis club, where he participated in service activities until moving to the Stillwater, Minn., area. In December 2013, Leonard and Merlene celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. Leonard and Merlene were members of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Carlton.

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Leonard is survived by his daughters, Darlene (Fred) Wahls, Charlene (Ralph) Thompson, Linda Ritchey (Leo Legare), Pam Goad and Kim (Bill) Miller; son, Kevin (Kattia) Ritchey; grandchildren, Ryan (Sarah) Wahls, Travis (Jen) Wahls, Angela (Ryan) Tichenor, Jayme (Kandi) Thompson, Jocelyn (Eduardo) Checco de Souza, Cullen (Erica) Thiessen, Chelsea Thiessen, McKenzie Goad, Madison, Goad, Riley Miller and Steven Ritchey; great-grandchildren, Ivan Wahls, Jordan Thompson, Tiago, Matteus and Micaella Thompson de Souza, Wyatt and Hayley Thiessen, and Conrad Joshi; as well as many other relatives and friends.

Leonard was preceded in death by his wife, Merlene; his parents; his sister, LaRue Schultz; his brother, Adolph Ritchey; and his grandson Jeffrey Thompson.

Visitation: Saturday, Aug. 30, from 9 a.m. until the 10 a.m. service to celebrate Leonard's life at the family's cabin, 5391 Dake Road, Siren, Wis., followed by refreshments, and then burial at 12:30 p.m. in Lorain Township Cemetery near Indian Creek, Wis.

August 28, 2014 ~ Pine Journal, Cloquet, Minn.

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