Nancy Burns Ritz passed away peacefully on July 20, 2023 in The Villages. She was born in Lexington, KY on June 14, 1937 to the late Bryson and Irene Burns of Dayton, Ohio.
Nancy is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Dr. N. William Ritz. They were long term residents of Ocala, FL where she and Dr. Ritz founded Ritz and Johnson Eye Care Center in 1963. Nancy provided the public relations and marketing for the firm. She is also survived by her sister Patsy Gerlinger of Wilmington, Ohio.
Nancy graduated from The Ohio State University where she received her BS in Home Economics. She continued her education at The University of Houston. She taught in Ocala, Utica, OH and Houston, TX. She taught at elementary and high school level. Her passion was to ignite student learning drawing on their practical skills.
After graduation she and her husband moved to London England for a year and developed a love of touring Europe. Over the years, they toured western Europe and the Soviet Union. During the late sixties and seventies, they entertained local service clubs with travelogues about life abroad, particularly the Soviet Union.
Her hobbies were sewing, artistic painting and pottery. She painted over 200 original paintings mainly of her family and friends. Her entire art studio, including fixtures, easels, ceramic wheel, kiln, art supplies, and her many books on art, was donated to The Appleton Art Museum in 2016.
Nancy was active in local civic affairs. She was a member of Ocala Jaycee wives' organization, the Jaycees Women. She was also awarded the 50 Year Membership Certificate from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. During her career with P.E.O. she founded four new chapters. She was active in The First United Methodist Church of Ocala and the Open-Door Sunday School Class.
After full retirement she and her husband relocated to The Villages in 2016. They retained homes in Cambridge, MA, where Dr. Ritz was active in The Harvard Institute of Learning in Retirement, and Nancy cared for her granddaughter. She also loved their home in Santa Fe, NM where she enjoyed the many art galleries on Canyon Road.
Nancy is survived by her devoted husband, N. William Ritz and her children, Nicholas B. Ritz, O.D. (Jill) Albuquerque, NM; Daniel L. Ritz, O.D. (Becky) Ocala, FL and Patricia Goodman Hayward, Ed.D. (Taylor) Cambridge, MA. Besides her many friends, she leaves behind her nine beloved grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren.
Services will be held at First United Methodist Church Ocala at 11:00 AM on August 9, 2023, followed at 1:30 pm with Entombment at Highland Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to N. W. and Nancy Ritz Scholarship Trust at College of Central Florida.
Arrangements are under the direction of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services 910 SE Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470.