Clark E. Ritchie, 91, of Gouverneur, died on January 10, 2018. Mr. Ritchie, of Little Bow Road, is survived by one daughter, Jeanne (Paul) Anderson of Mexico, NY, one son, Claude "Spence" (Lori) of Gouverneur, ten grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and longtime friend Mary McCollouch. He was predeceased by his wife, Jeanne Lacks Ritchie, in 1992. He was also predeceased by his parents, Steward "Si" and Hilda Lucas Ritchie, and a brother, Donald Ritchie.
Mr. Ritchie was born in Old DeKalb, NY, on October 13, 1926. He graduated from Gouverneur High School in 1945 and served in the U.S. Navy. After discharge, he attended Mohawk College in Utica, NY. He married Jeanne Lacks on November 2, 1947, in New Jersey. Mr. Ritchie was employed for several years with the Rouse Construction Company. In 1954 he founded Northern Metals and Construction Company with his brother Donald, which was later named Ritchie Bros. Construction. The company worked on welding and steel projects, as well as general construction contracting. Ritchie Bros. was well known throughout upstate New York, and they were never too busy to help service clubs, churches and other public organizations. Mr. Ritchie also designed and built the Gouverneur bandstand in Village Park. The brothers were awarded Good Citizen awards from the VFW and the American Legion. Mr. Ritchie served as President of Ritchie Bros. Corporation for thirty-four years, retiring in 1989.
Mr. Ritchie was a past member of the Lions Club, the American Legion, the Gouverneur Planning Board, the Gouverneur Board of Grievances, the Cranberry Lake Fish and Game Club, and the Gouverneur Cemetery Association. He attended the Gouverneur First United Methodist Church.
Mr. Ritchie was a man of varied interests and talents. He was interested in wild waterfowl, and kept a large flock of wild ducks, geese and swans in his pond for many years. He was also interested in racing homing pigeons, and owned many winning birds. He also kept beagles, which he hunted and used in A.K.C. field trials throughout the northeast and Canada. Mr. Ritchie was an excellent shot with rifle and shotgun, and many tales are told about his exceptional long-range vision. He was very proud of his Scottish heritage, and in his later years, spent a lot of time in Scotland, walking the footsteps of his forefathers. He was able to take both of his children and his three oldest grandchildren with him on trips to Scotland. Mr. Ritchie devoted extensive hours to studying his family's genealogy and compiling information and research, and in 1994, published "Ritchie: Scotland to USA," a full-length book tracing the Ritchie lineage back to the sixteenth century. In the foreword of the book, he wrote, "If you are a Scot, you have much to be proud of – if you are not, you may wish you were." He distributed the book widely to relatives in the United States and Scotland, and it was received with great interest and enthusiasm. In all, he traveled to Scotland nine times.
A private celebration of Clark Ritchie's life will be held by the family, with Pastor Paul Anderson officiating. French Funeral Home, of Gouverneur, is in charge of arrangements. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery. Contributions in Mr. Ritchie's memory may be made to the Riverside Cemetery Association of Gouverneur.