Irvin William Ritter, man of many talents

February 18, 2021

Irvin William Ritter, 86, of Milford, passed away peacefully at home Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

Irvin was born Jan. 5, 1935, at the Ritter family farm in Lewes to the late William and Margaret (Dallas) Ritter.   

Irvin was a member of Slaughter Neck UM Church, the Delaware Improved Order of Red Men, the National Improved Order of Red Men, and the Southern Delaware Vintage Race Club.  He also served his country proudly as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Irvin was a hard-working man who never shied away from an honest day’s work. He wasn’t afraid to try something new and made a living in a variety of ways over the years. He served as a Rehoboth police officer, was a school bus contractor, worked his own farmland, raised chickens, moved houses, owned and operated Mispillion Boat Yard in Milford, and worked for Carpenter Farms and Clifton Canning Company before retiring from Ritter Farms. His practical knowledge and common sense, coupled with his easy-going demeanor, made him a trusted counselor for his family and friends.

Irvin had a contagious smile and ready laugh that put everyone around him at ease. The ever-present twinkle in his eyes shone brightest when he did the things he loved - farming, traveling, dancing with his wife, and spending time with his family.  He also had a deep love for racing and owned the #25 and the #8 vintage race cars. In earlier years, he raced the #11 stock car with his brother, Bert, and Paynter Lynch. 

In addition to his parents, Irvin was preceded in death by his son, Knox Ritter; brother, Bert Ritter; and sisters, Mary Lou Steele, Jo Ann Burton, and Janice Moseley; as well as his close friend, James Carpenter, who was like a 4th brother.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Eleanor (Clifton) Ritter; children, Eric Ritter (Michele) of Selbyville, Raye Cosden (Dale) of Falling Water, W.Va., Renee Kendzierski (Keith) of Milford, Rob Johnson (Nancy) of Preston, Md., Rick Johnson (Gail) of Milford, Rhonda Parry (Jim) of Casselberry, Fla., Richard Johnson (Sally) of West Olive, Mich., and Richelle Steele of Lincoln; siblings, Frank Ritter (Janet) of Lewes, Marie Savin of Milford, Ethel Lee of Harbeson, June Simpson (Dan) of Harbeson, Bud Ritter (Jacqui) of Harbeson, and Pat Rust (Larry) of Seaford; 18 grandchildren, Brayden, Alina, Adam, Natalie, K.J., Kristofer, Brandon, Rachel, Megan, Brock, Eileen, Abby, Nicholas, Courtney, Erin, Victoria, Kevin, Joelle; and 17 great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews. He leaves a legacy for them of kindness, duty, humility, and genuine interest in others. His example of a life well-lived leaves a lasting impact on all who loved him.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m., at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Road, Georgetown, where friends may call after 11 a.m.  Interment will follow at the Ritter Family Cemetery in Harbeson.  All those attending must wear a mask and adhere to all social distancing and gathering protocols. The service will also be available via livestream at 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be offered to: Slaughter Neck UM Church, P.O. Box 241, Milford, DE 19963, Beebe Medical Foundation, 902 Savannah Road, Lewes, DE 19958, or Bayhealth Foundation, 640 South State Street, Dover, DE 19901. 

Arrangements in the care of Short Funeral Services, Milton.  Online condolences may be offered to the family at: 



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