HUDSON FALLS – Scott Thomas Ritchie, one of God’s very special people, passed away peacefully at his Alma Avenue group home in Hudson Falls, NY on May 19, 2015 after a long battle with congestive heart failure.
Born on July 18, 1951 in Gouverneur, NY to Gretchen and Howard Ritchie, he was a long-time resident of Hudson Falls with his parents and later at nearby group homes. Born with cerebral palsy, Scott was happy and child-like his whole life, forever smiling and always looking forward to the next fun thing to be part of.
And what fun he had–camping on Lake George with family and friends, Saturday bowling with his housemates, winter trips (Scott’s “vacation”) to Florida where Mom and Dad took him to Disney to be photographed with Mickey, Lake George boat rides with Tom and Kathleen, Yankee and local hockey games where cheering and a souvenir were the highlights, winning ribbons at Special Olympics, countless outings organized by the great staff at his group home, going to local restaurants (“eat out”), talking on the phone, listening to music and watching movies–especially musicals–Annie and Sound of Music being his all-time sing-along favorites. During the last couple of years at Alma house, he was so excited to be “retired” as he called it, where the staff gave him extra attention and made every day a new adventure.
Scott’s special ability was his extraordinary memory for songs and lyrics, and while he couldn’t sing every word (usually only the last word in each line), his enthusiasm was infectious. He amazed us all by knowing lyrics by heart which we had to look up.
Each and every year there were two major holidays that Scott looked forward to, talked about for months beforehand, and certainly reminded family and many others of — Christmas (“Santa coming”) and his birthday. Visits by the Easter bunny were fun, too.
Scott made hundreds of friends over the years. It was a rare occurrence when taking him to stores or restaurants that people didn’t walk up to say hi – often explaining to the rest of us that they had met him years, sometimes decades earlier.
It is impossible to personally thank all of the extended family, friends and caregivers (WWAARC house staff and Hospice) for the heartfelt love and care that Scott received. We sincerely thank all of you– especially the caregivers at Alma house–for providing Scott such a happy, fulfilled life during the last few years.
A paraphrase of one of Scott’s favorite songs, which we sang together so many times, reflects how we will remember him – you were our sunshine and you made us all happy.
Scott is predeceased by his father Howard. He is survived by his mother Gretchen, a brother Brad and his wife Sally, Aunt Ann Real, ‘brother’ Thomas Mitchell and wife Kathleen, cousins Jane Wilson and husband Andrew Real and many other cousins.
Scott’s family will receive friends at the Carleton Funeral Home, 68 Main St., Hudson Falls, NY on Thursday, May 28th from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, immediately followed by the memorial service on-site. Burial in the family plot in Richville, NY will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Scott may be remembered by sending a contribution in his name to WWAARC at 436 Quaker Road, Queensbury, NY 12804.