Lou J. Ritter, age 85, of La Crosse, died Sunday June 21, 2015 at Mayo Health System-La Crosse.
Lou was born in La Crosse, WI on March 16, 1930 to Louis A. and Anna (Senske) Ritter. He attended St. Josephâ€™s the Workman Cathedral grade school and graduated from Aquinas High School in 1948. After high school he attended La Crosse State Teachers college until he was drafted into the Army during his third year. While in the Army, he was named the Outstanding Trainee during basic training. He attended Army Finance School in Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, IN. Lou was assigned to duty in Germany in April 1952 and was honorably discharged from the military in July 1953.
Lou married Mary L. Servais on December 26, 1951 at the St. Josephâ€™s Ridge Catholic Church. They had four children, Julie (Jeff) Loewenhagen of Savage, MN, Mark Ritter of Brookfield, WI, Mike (Ann) Ritter of Madison, WI, and Kevin (Lisa) Ritter of Whitehall, WI. Lou and Mary were blessed with 10 grandchildren (Elyse, Josh, Patrick, Daniel, Christopher, Hannah, Andrew, Rebekah, Benjamin, and Mary Ellen) and two great-grandchildren (Mason and Nora).
Upon returning from the military, Lou worked at Gantertâ€™s furniture in downtown La Crosse for 28 years. In 1980, he became the Business Manager and Development Director of Aquinas High School where he oversaw several major renovation projects of the school. He remained at Aquinas until his retirement in 1993.
In retirement, Lou remained active, returning to UW-La Crosse to earn his Bachelorâ€™s Degree. He was appointed to the La Crosse Police & Fire commission by then Mayor Patrick Zielke and served in this role for 20 years. He was very proud of the many brave and qualified individuals he was able help bring to the local police and fire departments.
Lou was also involved in the building of the Aquinas Middle School, the restoration of Riverfront, and the building of the Blessed Sacrament Parish Center.
Friends were always an important part of Louâ€™s life. Many of his grade school and high school friends were lifetime friends. His time in Germany led to a love of travel. He and Mary took many trips together with their friends â€“ Luxemburg (1988), Germany (1990), The Holy Land (1992), Ireland (1996), China (1997), Italy (1997), Panama Canal (1999), and France (2000). He enjoyed a variety of activities with his friends as a part of Virgâ€™s Golf Group, bowling group, poker club, bridge club, SOKOLS, Blessed Sacrament Menâ€™s Club, American Legion Post 52, Serra Club, and a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 839 for 57 years and 29 years as a Knight of the Fourth Degree..
In addition to his children and grandchildren, Lou is survived by brothers Phil (Shirley) Ritter and Steve (Barb) Ritter. He was preceded in death by brothers Paul Ritter and Donald Ritter. He is further survived by many beloved brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
The family would like to extend a Thank You to the staff of Clare Bridge and all those at Mayo Franciscan Healthcare that took such good care of Lou.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM, Friday June 26, 2015 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 130 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse, WI. Rev. Peter Raj and Msgr. Robert Hundt will officiate with burial to be held with Military honors by the Roy L. Vingers American Legion Post No. 52, in the Catholic Cemetery. Friends and family may call from 9:30 AM until the time of Mass at Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given to Blessed Sacrament Parish, Mayo Franciscan Healthcare, or Aquinas Catholic Schools.