ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Tony Ritsma. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Kris Ritsma on July 12, 2019
I will forever love you and thank you for being my friend. You were awesome. Thanks for you. ❤️
Posted by Kristina Emick on June 16, 2019
When I first met you, Tony, I thought your blue eyes conveyed everything I now know is true about you: your kindness, warmth, and genuine interest in others ... and maybe a little mischief. :-) You always made me feel comfortable when I married into the family, and I love you for that!
Posted by Keith Manecke on June 16, 2019
As midwesterners who love the mountains, Kristina and I try to get out West as much as we can, and we always look forward to catching up with Ann and Tony when we're in Denver. We were so lucky that we got to visit again last fall and go out to dinner with both of you. You're both in our thoughts and prayers right now -- Tony will be missed by so many, and we're lucky we had the chance to get to know him.
Posted by Kris Ritsma on June 10, 2019
Hey Tony!
The other day, Rich and I were going to brunch and we went somewhere that a friend of ours tends bar. Turns out she wasn’t working. We both said “Why didn’t we go to East Burn?” We immediately thought of you and how you LOVED their crab cakes eggs Benedict. 
We’re off to Outer Banks in a few days. It’s only my second time ever there. The first time, you and Anne were there. It was awesome to see you there. We’ll miss you this trip. Much love. ❤️
Posted by Rich (Jr.) Ritsma on June 1, 2019
Hey Tony! I was thinking about you the other day. Someone mentioned the little town of Chehalis Washington and I remembered when you spent a couple of weeks out there working for GE about 10 years ago. You’d fly in to Portland on Sunday and drive up to Chehalis then swing back through Portland and crash on my couch or air mattress for a day or two before going home. You, me and Kris would go out to dinner, bounce around the dive bars looking for the best shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables we could find. Then we’d end up closing down a bar and stumbling home a 2:30 AM. And this went on every other week or so for months! Good times! We always LOVED your visits and looked forward to you next Pacific NW assignments. FYI…most of those bas have changed owners and names since then, but the old Hal’s shuffleboard table and Morrison Hotel dart board are still there!
Posted by Mary Bucher on May 28, 2019
It's been seven years since Ann's three brothers, three of her sisters and our spouse converged on Lakewood for a vacation in the Denver area. Tony got tee times for the guys on several different courses and they had a great time trying to best each other. Lots of fun for them. Some of us spent the day in Vail while they were chasing that little white ball! Vail is always a great place to see. Tony and Ann took all of us down to Rita and Bob's place to see all that beauty and history. We were very appreciative that they welcomed the ten of us for the day. It was also nice to chill in Tony's awesome backyard. Very relaxing with the water feature and of course Tony was the master of the grill. So many memories of a wonderful trip to the Rockies!
Posted by Dennis McNamara on May 27, 2019
“T”, I really miss your companionship. I so enjoyed playing a round of golf with you when we could squeak it in. Every time I drive by Deer Creek or Fox Hollow I think of us golfing. We never talked about work when we were out enjoying a round. Breakfast Burritos, 18 holes, your company, and lunch with a beer, it never got any better.
Speaking of work, I still get compliments from our customer on how awesome you were at fixing their problems. You are truly missed, and you are still being ask from our customers for to help.
I really do miss you “T” and love you like a brother!!!!!
I know we’ll be knocking it around again sometime, enjoying a cigar while viewing the course scenery, and cussing like Spaulding.
Best Regards Bro,
Dennis
Posted by Jan Ritsma on May 24, 2019
Well summer is coming and we think of our OBX vacations ....a couple of them with you & Ann. I specifically remember the one where you bought me my favorite...Kill Devil's Frozen Custard...for my birthday! Brought like 3 pints to me in a cooler and all. Yum! Soooo good! Glad we both still share a love of ice cream!
Posted by Rich Ritsma on May 22, 2019
Looking back, my earliest recollection of Tony (Anton then) was, I believe, the train trip from Friesland to Rotterdam, before we emigrated to the USA. Tony was an infant and was transported in a wicker basket with a window in the top. Interesting he never adopted a "Moses" complex.
Posted by Jan Ritsma on May 17, 2019
Hey Tony... thinking about you and some of the fun times we had when I first started hanging out with you guys. I know you remember my "first date" with Rich. You were there and spilled a Harvey Wallbanger on me! Really? Who remembers Harvey Wallbangers?! And then there were the ever popular family picnics.....you would look till I had a mouthful of food and then say - watch Jan chew! What a guy!
Posted by Mary Bucher on May 14, 2019
On my third trip to the Denver area, Ann and Tony took me down to Rita and Bob's place. It was an amazing weekend learning the history of that expanse of land. I even went four wheeling for the first time in my life! Tony and Ann were gracious tour guides for me on the ride down and back. So much to see in the beauty of that part of our country.
Posted by Rich (Jr.) Ritsma on May 13, 2019
Tony, I can’t believe I almost forgot about the “Cool Uncle” legacy you started without even knowing it. Growing up Ritsma, there was no shortage of Cool Uncles: Uncle Bill had a pool and a pool table and even Atari! Uncle George has the sweeeet Mustang and Vandy the wolf (OK, Husky, but I was smaller then). Nonetheless, Uncle Tony set the bar early—and set it high—with the coolest thing a kid could image: a genuine Swiss Army Knife with a corkscrew, tweezers and even scissors! You fascinated me with that marvel of engineering on one of your trips back to NJ, and honestly, given my age at the time, that’s about all I can remember about that visit. But it left quite an impression, and I remembered it and talked about it…A LOT. (“Oh, your dad’s a pilot…well my uncle has a knife with a scissor in it. Take that!”) The legend of the “Cool Uncle Tony Knife” grew and was passed along over the years and culminated (for me) on Christmas 2006. Under the tree that year a found a small package address to “Cool Uncle Richie” from my brand new nephew Jaden (the Designated Breeder’s first born!)…my very own Swiss Army Knife. The legacy lives on. Thanks, Tony. You’re the original Cool Uncle!
Posted by Rhea Burnett on May 12, 2019
Tony, you have been a friend, colleague, mentor, and big brother for many years all of which I have highly valued and benefited from. Our first work experience with each other was @ Hurricane, Katrina clean-up in New Orleans. I knew immediately you were a man of substance and conviction.  The REAL thing! I added a week to my time in the pleasure palace to allow your early departure for switchgear school. A real investment, and an easy choice. You have given me, and anyone that you have worked with so much insight to dedication and commitment. You always gave your all and still kept coming pushing, looking for answers and taking care of customer's every working moment. When you engaged work you were poetry in motion. Never a missed step or movement. PacifiCorp Jim Bridger owes you a huge debt of gratitude for all that you have done over the years. Single handedly you were principally the reason for our success. There wasn't a fire fight that you weren't front and center helping to find a timely resolution. I miss our days of Bridger!! Since your departure we have not been to the site. Without you it would not ever be the same. My mind whirls recounting all the times you came to our, my rescue! This is where everyone came to know and respect Mr. "T"!  There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't think of any number of our challenges that I ask myself: How would Tony do this??? You are missed and my memories and training via being a helper, have come to be so cherished. You will always be my best of friends, colleague, and mentor. You are The Gold Standard! You were the corner stone of GE Denver's success. Everything went better with Tony!! No one can deny this! You gave so much of yourself not only to our customer's but to your colleagues. You have trained so many people I can't even count. The real value add was Tony! You gave so much, and asked so little. You were always brave in thought, and courageous in action. The Center of Excellence in Denver was principally you. You brought SF-6 to the table and Denver can hardly fill you shoes now. I have always enjoyed our time together which has been extensive. We have more time out in front of us and I plan on continuing to do so! I continue to admire your strength and courage. Keep the faith! I do!!  Rhea
Posted by Amy Sette on May 10, 2019
Tony.. Tony.. Tony.. where to begin?? I think we first met over a 12-head Embroidery machine in my garage. I remember thinking you belonged on a Basketball Court. Eventually we came to work together at Rhythms - we had our team and it was a really good time. During that time, you were more than a co-worker, you became a near and dear friend. I remember my first time meeting Ann too. You two were as cute then as were the last time I saw you a few months ago. I'm so glad you have each other! Seems no matter what life brought us, we stayed in touch. It warmed my heart when you came to Arizona for work and were able to come by and meet Sean and the family - you were the first of my "friends" to meet him and I just knew you two would hit it off. We speak often and fondly of your visit here and our many visits there. I still have photo's of the Amp --eh hem.. damage.. What a fiasco! Glad it eventually worked out and you got to jam away!! I can also honestly tell you that you have outlived the Rubber Tree, well at least it overgrew at my parents and they had to part with it.. it's likely taken over some landfill. :)
Every trip to Colorado, we got to come say Hi, catch up & see how your many home improvement projects were going (still jealous of your Kitchen remodel!). I loved that months could go by without a word, and yet we just picked up where we left off when the opportunity presented itself - sharing stories of our lives and families, having a few good laughs. I have never had many "friends", and I'm awful about staying in touch day-to-day, but I keep a very special place in my heart for you, always have, always will.
Our visits to Colorado will never be the same, but we will look for you in the mountains and smile knowing, you're out there and we'll raise a glass, have a smile & share a story! I won't say "goodbye".. I'll just say, see you later, in a different way. Oh and PS, can you send some good weather this fall when we come up for the Elk? So, so many hugs to you, Tony!!
Posted by Bill Strackbein on May 10, 2019
Tony, This is Mary Strackbein writing. I am Kris' mother and Rich's mother-in -law. I just want you to know that I have been praying for you every day since I heard of your illness. I will continue to do so and to hope for a miracle (as my brother, Jack McManus mentioned in his note to you). Your are very dear to not only Kris and Rich but certainly to your whole family. I have heard many stories of good times they all have had with you. May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand.
Posted by Ken Ritsma on May 9, 2019
So many great memories with Uncle Tony, but I want to share the three that immediately came to mind.
One of my first memories was when I was very young and Uncle Tony came out to New Jersey. (This was probably the same “vacation” he spent building the deck at my parents’ house.) I remember being fascinated that he used to wear his watch with the face on the underside of his arm so that he’d have to turn his hand palm-up to read the time. So cool! When we asked why he wore his watch that way he said, “So that if I spill my coffee and it runs down my arm, it won’t ruin my watch.” From then on, every time I got a new watch I tried to wear it “Uncle Tony” style until it got too annoying and I flipped it back around.
Then there was the time we all went out for the family reunion in Colorado, and Uncle Tony was working nights. So, what does a cool uncle do when he comes home from work at 1:00 am and everyone in the house is asleep? Why, he wakes up his two nephews to have a beer and cigar on the deck, of course! I still remember waking up in a strange bed to a floating, green Heineken bottle waving back and forth in front of my face.
It was on that same trip that Uncle Tony spent a good amount of time with me and my siblings and quickly learned that Sharon and Richie had no plans of having children anytime soon, and certainly not in any significant quantity. As only Tony can do, he turned to me and said, “Ah, so you’re the designated breeder!” Fortunately, that didn’t scare off then 18-year old Melissa, who I’d been dating for a whole four months. The family still refers to me as “DB” from time to time, and I’m laughing now as I think about this story. I hope I did you proud and lived up to your expectations to keep the Ritsma name going!
I love you Uncle Tony. It’s not “goodbye” – just “see you later!”
Posted by Kris Ritsma on May 9, 2019
Dear Tony. This is from my Uncle Jack.
Kris: Uncle Tony. My message to him follows:
    Dear Tony: Word has reached me about the severity of your illness. I'm not a doctor who has a magic potion, nor a magic wand.
              But I am able to say some prayers for you and I can hope for a miracle. God bless! - Jack McManus
Posted by Sharon Soucy on May 7, 2019
Hi Uncle Tony!! Hope you're doing ok out there today, been thinking a lot about you. The picture on this site reminded me of a visit to Colorado with Richie and we all went for a hike and I thought it was so crazy to be outside with snow on the ground, but have no jacket and even ended up rolling up my sleeves! It was always a treat to visit with you... And then years later to visit you with my husband! We both appreciate you spending time with us in California & enjoying a big buffet dinner at Hakaido, which happened to be right next door! Wonderful memories, so glad we have them!! I love you!
Posted by Jan Ritsma on May 7, 2019
Thinking back, Tony, I realized I've actually known you since 3rd grade at North 4th St. Christian School. You sat right in front of me. You were called "Anthony" Ritsma then. Little did I know that years later I'd marry your big brother, we'd be related, and you'd be cool Tony Ritsma. Love that we have "history" dude! Love you.
Posted by Jan Casper on May 7, 2019
When Ann moved in next door to us, we thought a nice way to welcome her to the neighborhood would be to join us for our annual Christmas dinner party. She of course mentioned her pal Tony and they both accepted our invitation. Well....not sure if either knew what they were getting into but they return every year. 2014 was their first year and it was a Cajun theme! You can see from the photo that Tony did not seem to sure of what was going on, who all these people are and what the dickens are they doing there! But he fit right in and ever since, he has enjoyed (or at least he says he has enjoyed!), French Christmas, Italian Christmas and even Danish food. I can count on Tony to bring his beer and that big ol' grin of his and to Bless us with his presence on Christmas Day. We even got him and Ann to join us for our impromptu Happy Hours lately! And if we are serving chili, nachos or ribs...Tony Will be there! We love you Tony! Jan & Charlie.  P.S. This year is a British celebration of Christmas that I know you'll like!
Posted by Kris Ritsma on May 7, 2019
I’m completely remiss to do a tribute right now. Tony! You’re still alive and I love you. But here’s something that I want to say.

Tony. It was so incredible to know that you met my Uncle Jack way before I ever got to know anything Ritsma.
I’m honored that you came to Myrtle Beach for my wedding to Rich.
I’m elated that you got to see Jack again. Honestly, that was one of my favorite moments of that weekend in Myrtle, other than marrying Rich, obviously.

I loved that you worked around here in Portland so many times. And that Rich and I got to see you so so many times.
Then
You broke Intel, right?!
❤️
You crushed me in shuffleboard. You heard us sing Karaoke. We ate brunch, happy hour, dinner, or whatever! 

Rich has always described you as basically his older brother. I’ve witnessed some of this relationship and I get it.

I love you Tony.
Posted by Mary Bucher on May 6, 2019
In 2006, Ann brought Tony to visit us in Ohio for Thanksgiving week. I remember Tony enjoying my husband, Joe's, Steeler Christmas display and all the lights and artificial snow around the different momentoes. Of course, Ann had to get Orlando's pizza for Tony to try. The day after Thanksgiving, I had my 60th birthday party at the Wellsville Elks with food, drink and music. I can still see Tony standing back and taking it all in. I think he enjoyed the time spent with all of us. I know we had a great time getting to know him more!!!
Posted by Rich (Jr.) Ritsma on May 5, 2019
So many good memories over so many years, it’s tough to know where to start. One thing I’ve noticed is that most of my favorite photos of myself were taken by Tony in places I never would have found on my own! Every trip I made to Colorado included some kind of epic adventure for me that was literally just a walk in the park for Tony. The first time I summited a mountain (Mt. Spalding), Tony took me up (and took pictures!). That trip also included my first trip to REI, my first close encounter with a mountain goat and my first experience with altitude sickness. I went on to do a LOT more hiking that summer and for years beyond. Thank you, Tony, for sharing your passion with me and showing me how to do it right!
Posted by Mary Bucher on May 3, 2019
I remember Ann telling us about this guy named Tony who she met through a singles group in the Denver area and that first date you had on Christmas morning many years ago. The next year our mother and Ann's sisters came to Denver to celebrate Lys' 50th Birthday. You and your mother opened your home for a cookout and cake to make it all momentous. I can remember meeting someone taller than my husband, Joe, and how you tower over Ann! That was not a hindrance at all in your blossoming relationship. Thank you both for sharing your love of the mountains and Colorado on my first trip to that part of our beautiful country.
Posted by Lysbeth Klosterman on May 3, 2019
We have really enjoyed getting to know you over the years. When Ann arrived in Colorado, you were just the blessing she needed to guide her in molding a renewed life in the Rocky Mountains. Our visits to your area were so much fun thanks to your great tour-guiding skills. God speed Tony until we meet again.
Love, Lys and Mike
Posted by Ann W on May 2, 2019
Tony created a family website and spent countless hours documenting his family's history with many, many pictures.  Visit site ritsma.org to view Tony's family. He is very grateful that Ken Ritsma, his nephew, is now responsible for the site.
Posted by Sharon Skinner on May 1, 2019
Tony will be so missed by all who love him, including me, Dan, Miles, Ian and Simon. His curiosity and appreciation of life are infectious! I just love spending time with him and marveling at the world around us and the crazy people in it. Love you, Tony!

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Kris Ritsma on July 12, 2019
I will forever love you and thank you for being my friend. You were awesome. Thanks for you. ❤️
Posted by Kristina Emick on June 16, 2019
When I first met you, Tony, I thought your blue eyes conveyed everything I now know is true about you: your kindness, warmth, and genuine interest in others ... and maybe a little mischief. :-) You always made me feel comfortable when I married into the family, and I love you for that!
Posted by Keith Manecke on June 16, 2019
As midwesterners who love the mountains, Kristina and I try to get out West as much as we can, and we always look forward to catching up with Ann and Tony when we're in Denver. We were so lucky that we got to visit again last fall and go out to dinner with both of you. You're both in our thoughts and prayers right now -- Tony will be missed by so many, and we're lucky we had the chance to get to know him.
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