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1963 Wayne Marcel Ritter Sr 2023

Wayne Marcel Ritter Sr

July 23, 1963 — November 25, 2023

Pickerington

Wayne Marcel Ritter, Sr., 60, of Pickerington, passed away peacefully on November 25, 2023.

He was born in Anchorage, Alaska on July 23, 1963, to General Jr. and Janet Ritter.

Because his father was in the military, Wayne lived in many different parts of the country throughout his childhood, including Alaska, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Texas.  He then moved to Germany, where he lived in the 70s and 80s.  Wayne attended Frankfurt American High School in Frankfurt, Germany, graduating in 1981.

After high school, he followed in the footsteps of his hall-of-fame athlete grandfather Henry Foster Bowman, Jr. (“Bo”), attending and playing football at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg.  He lived with his grandmother while he attended school. He later attended Prairie View A&M closer to his parents’ home in Killeen.

Following school, Wayne served in the United States Army Reserve, training in Aberdeen, Maryland in 1987 before subsequently serving in Waco, Texas and Rickenbacker, Ohio. He later worked for the attorney general's office for more than 25 years. Among his many friends at the AGO and beyond, he was affectionately known as “Big Daddy,” or “Dad.”  And unsurprisingly, he was a father figure to many, always teaching others how to be strong and confident in who they were.  He loved his friends like family.  And he loved his family more than anything. 

Wayne met Berneice, his wife of almost 13 years, in high school in Germany (where he was the prom king!).  After both starting families and leading parallel lives thousands of miles apart, they reconnected and rekindled the love they shared almost 30 years prior. The two were married on December 31, 2010, in Las Vegas, where Berneice’s father lived. Wayne and Berneice spent the last decade enjoying one another's company and making up for lost time, including visiting Germany.

Wayne was most proud of his children.  When he wasn’t working hard to support them, he bonded with them through teaching and proudly encouraged all of their endeavors.  He was particularly passionate about education and tirelessly worked to show his children the gift of life-long learning.  As a young parent, when he wasn’t shuttling his children to sports practices or games, he and his family could be found at the library.  Indeed, his love of learning and continuous self-reinvention might be the most enduring part of his legacy. He viewed education as the ultimate equalizer and pushed his children beyond what they thought was possible in whatever they pursued. Wayne was also extremely proud of his grandsons.  He absolutely adored them and loved spending time with them.  And they loved him too.  Wayne had a gift when it came to children—he could always make them smile and soothe any crying baby. 

When he wasn’t spending time with family or friends, he was cheering on his favorite sports team or listening to his favorite music.  To say that Wayne was an avid sports fan is an understatement.  Gameday or not, he could always be spotted wearing his favorite team’s gear—a Steelers’ shirt, or an Oklahoma Sooners’ or Texas Longhorns’ baseball cap. As far as music went, Wayne’s musical taste ran the gamut. From creating it to analyzing or simply enjoying it, Wayne always had a song on the tip of his tongue. Even on his hardest days, music always brought a smile to his face. And as much as Wayne loved sports and music, he loved talking about both even more. He always wanted to know your thoughts on a particular issue and (gently) educate you on why your thoughts were misplaced. 

Wayne will be remembered for his infectious laugh, heartwarming smile and ability to make anyone feel comfortable. Those who have had the pleasure of engaging in conversation with Wayne know that the experience is unforgettable. As fiercely as he advocated for his position, he was equally interested in listening. He was always supportive and encouraging when sharing the most precious things we have to offer: our thoughts and ideas. Wayne never met a stranger and often would linger at the grocery store chatting with someone he just met. We couldn't have asked for a better son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Wayne lived his life with vitality and spirit; we honor him by doing the same.

Wayne is survived by his loving wife Berneice Ritter; his children Wayne Ritter, Jr. (Jordan), Brittany Ritter (Dominic), Taylor Jonsen, and Hailee Thompson; his grandsons Lysander and Anderson; his parents Janet and General Ritter; his siblings Donnie Ritter (Susanne), Pamela Jones (Alfonzo), Michelle Lucero, Sean Ritter, and Glynn Ritter (Anita); and his many aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, including their spouses and children.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, December 16, 2023, from 12-3 P.M. at Our Lady of Victory, Parish Life Center, 1559 Roxbury Road, Columbus, OH 43212. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the National Military Family Association.

To order memorial trees in memory of Wayne Marcel Ritter Sr, please visit our tree store.

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