Kay Ann (Schanzenbach) Ritchie, 69, of Cumberland, passed away May 20, 2013 at Lakeview Medical Center ending her struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Kay was born in South Dakota, daughter of Melvin and the late Ruth (Bickel) Schanzenbach. She grew up in McLaughlin, South Dakota. Kay graduated from Maplewood Academy, Hutchinson, Minnesota, in 1962. After graduating she was employed by Mastercraft Industries in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. On June 3, 1967, Kay married Leland Ritchie. They lived in Milltown where Lee was a teacher in the Unity School District. After two years, they moved to Cumberland where Lee taught elementary students and Kay opened her successful seamstress business, Kay's Sewing. Her reputation for excellent, timely, skillful creations and alterations spread. In addition to her regular customers, Kay sewed literally hundreds of Colorguard uniforms and flags. She altered dresses for nearly every wedding and prom in the area. In the late 1980s she accepted a contract with the Hudson Bay Blanket Coat Company. Kay's business was located in their home, allowing Lee and Kay to raise their three children without the aid of babysitters or daycare. In spite of her daunting responsibilities, Kay considered her role as wife and mother to be most important. Kay was an active member of Rice Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, where she held various positions. She was a skilled musician. She played piano at numerous church functions, gave lessons and was the church's accompanist from 1963 until this past fall. Several years ago, after her son Chad Ritchie created a hand-crafted stringed dulcimer for her as a birthday gift, she learned to play the instrument. Her skill was such that she belonged to groups in Bloomer, Wisconsin and Gulf Shores, Alabama. Kay loved going to Gulf Shores for the four winter months to walk the sugar sand beaches and soak up the warmth of the winter sun. She never complained about missing the wind, snow and cold of Wisconsin for the ten years she and Lee enjoyed their winter home. In addition to her talents with sewing and music, Kay was adept at American Sign Language, taking classes for many years. She was able to interpret in situations where the hearing impaired would not have received necessary assistance and understanding. She was a dedicated member of Curves in both Cumberland and Gulf Shores. Survivors include her loving husband, Leland; her father, Melvin Schanzenbach; brother, Dennis Schanzenbach and friend Alice Lemon; her children, Chad (Jondell) Ritchie of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Shannon (Duane) Buettner of Clintonville, WI, Tara Ritchie of Edina, MN; grandchildren, Nicole Ahne, Madison Ritchie and Kaylee Buettner; and nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 24 at Rice Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1779 20½ Street with visitation one hour prior to the service. The family extends their sincere thanks to everyone for their prayers and support.
Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
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Kay was a mentor of mine growing up in the Rice Lake SDA church. She encouraged me to start playing piano for church services when I was in 7th grade. She was always so encouraging and helpful to me in learning how to play for church services. I learned so much from her and my music talents grew so much because of her. She was the pianist at my wedding and she also helped me alter the bridesmaid dresses. Kay was a woman that I looked up to and I am so thankful to have known her. Now I don't live in Rice Lake anymore and I can't attend the funeral but I so wish I could. She was a much respected woman and she will be missed. My prayers go out to her family. I look forward to the day I will see her again. Sincerely, Angela Scott (Cook)
Lee, Chad, Shannon and Tara, I was so sorry to hear about the passing of your dear Kay. It was only recently that I learned she was suffering with ALS. That is the disease that claimed my mom as well. In all the years I have known her I have never seen Kay angry. I have never heard her say a bad word against anyone. I could never count the number of times she has accompanied my singing. It was just a couple years ago that I was practicing in your living room. Each spring we come up and eat lunch at the park in Cumberland. I always point toward your house and tell my children about your family. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming days and weeks. I am sorry that I cannot be with you tomorrow for the funeral. I pray that you can take comfort in the fact that she is no longer suffering. Love to you all! cb
Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
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My deepest sympthay to the whole family! I've know Kay for sereral years and what a blessing to have known such a lovely lady. I have seen several items Kay has sewn, truly a special talent. I've been very close to her grandaughter Kaylee as Grace. This is a huge loss for Kaylee, however she will hopefully always have memories of her special grandmother. Kaylee will miss grandma Kay at campmeeting in June, a place I got to visit with her each year also.I know you have all been through so much, I want you to know we've been praying for you and will continue to do that. God has promised to comfort the sad and heavyladen. Iknow He will comfort all of you. Shannon, God bless you for all you have done for your Mom & Dad these last few months. Iwould like to come on Friday but not sure yet if that will work out. I will be there in thought and prayer.