Kay, age 74, passed away on January 7, 2018 after multiple bouts with cancer and complications from a five-year battle with Primary Progressive Aphasia. She was born in Galion, OH to Fred and Bonnie Ritchey, just eleven months after her sister Mary. Everyone called her “Sooky” – the combination of Sue and Kay.
Life wasn’t easy in Ohio, so she made her way to Indianapolis where she met her soon-to-be husband Bob. They married December 3, 1966, started a family, and made their way out west to California. A 42-year resident of Rincon Valley, she loved Santa Rosa and immersed herself into volunteer programs that made the city a better place, but family always came first. She was active in her children’s schools, and helped build a library on the east side of Santa Rosa with the Rincon Valley Library Commission.
Her largest volunteer efforts were with the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, where she directed two “Living History” days, and the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, where she launched and directed the popular Lamplight and Womens’ History Tours. Professionally she spent five years as City Staff Coordinator at LBH&G, and an additional four years at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. She continued to immerse herself in local history by co-authoring “Santa Rosa, California in Vintage Postcards” with her husband. Upon his retirement, they pursued an antique business as dealers at Whistlestop Antiques for many years.
With the birth of her grandson, the author bug bit again, and over the course of six years she
produced three “Adventures with Annie in Santa Rosa” children’s books – highlighting the local tales of her beagle/foxhound mix Annie.
Widowed in 2011, Kay is survived by her two children David and Sara, son-in-law, Keith, sisters
Mary and Sharon, and grandson Mason. A memorial service is planned for January 20 at 2:00, at the Center for Spiritual Living, 2075 Occidental Road in Santa Rosa. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery/City of Santa Rosa, the Center for Spiritual Living, or the Sonoma County Historical Society. Or do as she would’ve done and give time to an organization or cause that inspires you.