Catherine Ritchey, 95 of Johnstown, passed away on March 25, 2020, at her home in Woodvale. Born in St Mary’s on September 16, 1924, daughter of the late Giuseppe and Paulina Chessa, who immigrated to America in 1920 from Codrongianos, Sardinia. The last surviving member of her immediate family, she was preceded in death by all of her five siblings: Mary Hollern, Lena Kristalich, Raymond Chessa, Frank Chessa, and Jenny White.
Catherine was married to Clarence A. Ritchey who passed away in March 1990. They met in 1946 when he returned from Europe, after serving his country in WW2 and receiving a Purple heart. They wed on January 25th, 1947, and raised five children Paul (Patti) of Hollsopple, David (Maria) of Bethel Park, Ronald (Cynthia) of Southlake, TX, Bernie (Nancy) of Manasquan, NJ, and Lois of Johnstown, PA. The family suffered the loss of Bernie in 2002. Catherine is also the grandmother of thirteen children, and great grandmother of twelve.
To say that Catherine was an ambitious and hard worker, would be an understatement. Upon graduation from Johnstown High School in 1943, she was the first female to work on a Johnstown factory floor during the war effort. After having her first three children she established Ritchey’s Lunch in 1954 located at 725 Maple Avenue in Woodvale. The restaurant served the neighborhood and critically, many Bethlehem Steel and railroad workers. Since she provided many of their provisions, she set her store hours from 6:00 AM until midnight, to cover all three shifts. Over the years, she garnered thousands of loyal customers of which many became close friends. Catherine also founded Ritchey’s Chocolates in 1955 and is now being operated by daughter, Lois Ling. Catherine was awarded Citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and the state Senate for her charitable efforts in raising money for the Easter Seal Society for Cripple Children.
A memorial and interment will be held on Saturday, June 26, at noon at Richland Cemetery. Please meet at Building A Mausoleum, if attending.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Frank Duca Funeral Home, Westmont Chapel. Condolences may be sent through www.ducafuneralhome.com.
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