Vernon Lou “Buddy” Ritchie

Vernon Lou “Buddy” Ritchie died at peace on December 14, 2018, at Willard Walker Hospice Home in Fayetteville. Buddy was born May 3, 1935, in Delaney, Arkansas, to the late Elmo and Lizzie Stewart Ritchie. He was also preceded in death by his first wife of 44 years, Betty Belote Ritchie. He is survived by his wife Donita Hubbard Ritchie, whom he married December 4, 1999; sons, Steve Ritchie and wife Deanne, Mike Ritchie; granddaughters, Carley and Olivia Ritchie, Diana Jones; step-grandson, Taylor Schneider; numerous nieces, nephews and loved ones in the Belote and Ritchie families; stepsons, Will Hubbard and wife Nicole, Winston Hubbard; step-grandchildren, Jessi Hubbard, Reagan Hubbard, Cassidy Trewin, Dylan Trewin; and members of the extended family he joined by marriage to Donita. He is also survived by two sisters, Sue Hall and Patsy Wootton. Buddy’s caregiver family included Mary and John Paxson, Amber and Jimmy King, Gary Belote and Steve Ritchie, Rodger Hunter, Karen Ferling, David Arnold, and Helen Brown, as well as Northwest Home Health (Brandi and Matt) and Washington Regional Hospice (Ashley, Vickie, and Cynthia). The family is deeply grateful to the caring staff of the Willard Walker Hospice Home for filling his final days with loving care and comfort.

Buddy grew up in Madison County, Arkansas, attending elementary school in Delaney. He attended Huntsville Junior High and Fayetteville High School, graduating in 1953. He worked at Jug Wheeler’s and Collier Drug Store on Dickson Street during high school and while attending Fayetteville Business College through 1959. Buddy began work in the poultry industry in 1959, working in Springdale at Big Dutchman USA, for ten years. In 1970, he began selling poultry equipment and supervising construction of major egg production facilities in seven states for ChoreTime (CTB, Inc). He spent 27 years with CTB, retiring in 1997, as Regional Sales Manager. He was a member of the Viney Grove Methodist Church, serving as a deacon for a number of years. Since 2000, Buddy has been a member of the Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.

Although he was unable to serve his country in the military, Buddy was a patriot who loved America. He also loved gospel music and classic country music, particularly the songs of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. He was an avid hunter, spending a week each November for 25 years hunting elk and deer with friends in northern Colorado, and in recent years hunting in Madison County with son Steve and brother-in-law Gary Belote. Buddy was an accomplished antique car restorer, with two full original restorations of 1950 Chevy Bel Aires. For many years, he was a member of the Foothills of the Ozarks antique car club, enjoying cruises, car shows and swap meets, and serving a term as President of the club in 2001. In 2017 and 2018, Buddy drove as a car courier for Enterprise, enjoying the camaraderie of a number of other retirees. Additionally, for recreation, Buddy enjoyed playing golf, and fishing in Colorado and at Bull Shoals and Beaver Lake with his pal, John Paxson. A special part of his life was spent attending Razorback sports events as a member of the athletic department “family” with his wife, Donita. Since 2006, Buddy and Donita enjoyed extensive “lake time” with a close-knit neighborhood of friends in Fern Hollow cove at Beaver Lake.

Buddy was a gifted caregiver who gave his time and care for many friends and loved ones facing the end of life. Probably his most significant service to others was as a charter member of the Caring Friends Respite Care of Fayetteville, where he spent every Thursday for the last seven years of his life at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church caring for patrons with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. His many friends there will fondly remember his sense of humor and his ability to make everyone comfortable by serving as a coffee chef, pledge to the Flag leader, domino partner, puzzle partner or bingo caller.

Those who knew Buddy Ritchie believe that he surely heard his Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

A memorial service was held Saturday, December 29, at the Central United Methodist Church Great Hall (Activities Center) in Fayetteville.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Central United Methodist Church Genesis Food and Clothing Pantry, the Caring Friends Respite Care Ministry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, or the Willard Walker Hospice Home.

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Jim and Carolyn NarensKen and Diana HaxelEddie McNealDena AcordRon Pyeatt Recent guestbook authors
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Patsy Wootton
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Patsy Wootton

Buddy was the best brother anyone could ever have. I know it was before I started school, but I have this memory of standing beside him in his car, kind of tucked behind his shoulder, no seat belts in the 50’s. He took me to Jug Wheeler’s with him. He had me call his buddies names, like rat face and balloon belly:). (Some of his friends told me about that when I got older). He always left everyone smiling. I won’t forget him.

Shelle Davis
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Shelle Davis

My heartfelt condolences to your family.

Liz and Todd
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Liz and Todd

We are so very fortunate to have been a part of the lake community, and to have the opportunity to spend quality relaxing time with Buddy for the past several years. We will deeply miss his stories, jokes, quirky remarks…and his sincere happiness to see us. Peace and blessings, from the Butler’s. Todd and Liz

Nancy Grant
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Nancy Grant

I never saw Buddy that he wasnt smilingly always kind and a little joking to go with it.he always looked and acted much younger than his age
Im honored to have known him
RiP.

Barbara and Bruce Sloan
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Barbara and Bruce Sloan

We will always remember yelling across the cove on Beaver Lake to check on Buddy and Donita to see what shanigsn Buddy had been up to. We will miss his great sense of humor and his stories of his long history on this earth. Rest In Peace Buddy. I am sure the Gates of Heaven opened without hesitation to welcome you home. God bless your family, you will be truly missed . Barbara & Bruce Sloan 😘 🙏🏻

Art and Brenda Allen
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Art and Brenda Allen

Buddy was a special friend. He always made us happy with his kind words and stories of his life experiences. Seems like he was a throwback to a different era , a most positive quality. . Buddy certainly loved to help others , would do anything for you, and had a big impact on our lives . We miss him so much.

Mark and Carla Pittman
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Mark and Carla Pittman

Godspeed our friend. Going to miss our talks at the lake. The girls will all miss “Buderro Rishaay”-Spanish Matador and Breaker of Women’s Hearts! Catch ya later.

Carolyn Butler
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Carolyn Butler

My thoughts and prayers are with Donita and family .
I was able to spend time with Buddy and Donita at the lake He will be missed !

Jim and Linda Mayes
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Jim and Linda Mayes

We loved meeting Bubby , Dad and Gen at Popeyes on Tuesday nights along with a lot of family and friends to have dinner and visit.
We had a lot of fun and got to visit each week!
We sure do miss those times !
Buddy always has a good story to tell and could make everyone laugh 💕
We sure do miss him 💕

Helen Brown
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Helen Brown

Dearest Donita and family I was one of the blessed who got to know Buddy in the last years of his life at Caring Friends. He put the “Care” in “Caring Friends”, showing us how to minister to those as they declined, giving respite to so many, not just one day a week. I don’t think he ever met a stranger, he just welcomed everyone into his circle of friends. It was comforting for all, not just our friends, to see his smile, even as he hurt, as he greeted us Thursday mornings. He sparked memories as we talked of… Read more »

Ronald K Belote
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Ronald K Belote

My uncle Buddy. He was a bright spot in my life. I will miss your smile and humor.

Kelly Hudnall
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Kelly Hudnall

Buddy was my special friend! I sure loved him and his sense of humor . I’m going to miss his big heart , our trips to Eureka and his fun stories! Love you always! -❤️

Ron Pyeatt
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Ron Pyeatt

Bud was my best friend ever. I have never known a more positive friend ever. I think about him all the time and we worked together, played together for years and always had a good time. We could count on each other.
Love always to you Bud.

Dena Acord
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Dena Acord

I first met Buddy in a dental office and have been friends for @25 years. He was a remarkable man that was alway’s full of joy and loved talking about his family. I never met his boys or family but I feel like I know them, he was so proud. He gave of himself and never met a stranger. His absence will be felt for a long time. I feel very blessed to have known Buddy and the impact he made on me. I am SO sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you, as you find a new… Read more »

Eddie McNeal
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Eddie McNeal

Donita and family, please accept my sincere condolences. Buddy was a good man and will certainly be missed. I am sorry I will not be able to attend his service but will have you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Ken and Diana Haxel
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Ken and Diana Haxel

Every time I saw Buddy he had something funny to say. He was a great human being and I enjoyed his company. Our condolences to his many family and friends.

Jim and Carolyn Narens
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Jim and Carolyn Narens

Donita and family,
Please accept our sincere condolences and prayers. We will miss Buddy and his wonderful stories at the baseball games. He was one of a kind.
Jim and Carolyn Narens