April 10, 1963
Radioman Second Class
UNITED STATES NAVY
James Patrick Ritchie was born on April 2, 1941, in Burlington, Vt., the son of Mr. and Mrs.. Leo Ritchie. He attended Nazareth Grammar School, Catholic High School, and Burlington High School, prior to entering the naval service. While a member of Saint Joseph's Church in Burlington, James served as an altar boy, and played basketball for the Catholic Youth Organization. Musically inclined, he played piano, trumpet, and trombone, played first trumpet in the schools, band, and formed his own group called the "Blue Notes." His group entertained at various school functions, and appeared on a local television station.
James first enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and served for 3 years before enlisting in the active Navy. He was employed by the Lake Champlain Transportation Co. of Burlington, as a deckhand on a ferryboat.
On December 17, 1958, James began his basic training at the U.S. Naval Training Center, Great lakes, Ill. While undergoing training he was a member of the Recruit Training Command Band.
He later qualified for training as a radioman, and entered the Navy's Radio Communications School at Norfolk, Va. Upon completing the course, he remained in Norfolk, for duty and was later transferred to Barbados, West Indies, for duty at the Naval installation there.
While stationed there, he became interested in skindiving and formed a club with other Naval personnel. He took advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the Navy, and completed his high school education.
James volunteered for submarine duty, and was accepted for training at the U.S. Naval Submarine School, New London, Conn. After successfully completing the course of instruction, James was assigned to his first submarine U.S.S. Thresher (SSN 593), at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
In addition to his parents, Mr. and Mrs.. Leo Ritchie of Burlington,
Vt., he leaves his widow, Mrs. Frances J. Ritchie; a son, James Patrick,
Jr.; two daughters, Bonny Lee, and Barbara Ann, born on April 23, 1963,
2 weeks after the loss of Thresher. He is also survived by
two sisters, Mrs. Barbara Cramer and Mrs. Robert Trombly, both of Burlington;
a brother, Clifford Murray of Smithfield, N.C.; and his grandmother, Mrs.
Katherine Ritchie of Burlington.