Eris Alton Ritchie, Jr.
Eris Alton Ritchie, Jr., age 80, passed away at his residence on January 17, 2016, surrounded by family. He was born April 18, 1935 in Mobile, Alabama and was the oldest of four children.
Eris began playing the piano in his early grade school years, and quickly proved to be a superb musician. He was drum major for Troup High School and went on to become the drum major for the Abilene Christian College "Big Purple" marching band. He graduated from Abilene Christian College with a B.A. in Music Education and an M.A. in School Administration. He taught Band at Trent High School, Cisco High School, and Cisco Junior College. Later, he served as Public Relations director at CJC, where he helped to arrange multiple appearances of the CJC Wrangler Band and Belles in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
While still in college, Eris was the owner and director of summer camps for twirlers, drum majors, and cheerleaders. After experiencing success with the sale of commemorative patches and emblems to various High School and College marching bands, Eris eventually expanded his business operations into Southwest Enterprises, which to this day continues to supply patches and emblems to various groups and events throughout the nation. Southwest also continues to operate a successful series of summer camps.
Eris is a long-time member and deacon of the Cisco Church of Christ, where he has also served in other leadership roles, including coordination of the Cisco Meals on Wheels program for 25 years. He served as a board member for World Christian Broadcasting for 20 years. WCB is an organization that utilizes short wave radio to reach large segments of the world's population with Christian-oriented programming. He continued as an honorary member of the WCB board until his death. He has also served as President of the Board of Trustees for the Conrad Hilton Memorial Park and Community Center since August, 1984. As a member of the Hilton board, he helped to raise the funds that were necessary to restore and maintain the old Mobley building, which was the first hotel that was owned by Conrad Hilton.
Eris was the Mayor of Cisco from 1981 to 1986, and was active in the Cisco Rotary Club throughout his life. He was responsible for organizing the annual Rotary Citizenship Awards Program, which has recognized outstanding student citizens at Cisco High for the last 50 years.
Eris is preceded in death by his parents, Eris Alton Ritchie, Sr. and Mary Ethel Tackett Ritchie; as well as his sisters, Janelle and Judy. He is survived by his beloved wife, Annita Hartsell Ritchie, of Cisco; and his children, Matthew Eris Ritchie and wife Sheila, of Abilene, Robin Ritchie Peace, of Cisco, Holly Hart Williams and husband David, of Red Oak, Texas, and Michael Ritchie and wife Lynsey, of Spring, Texas. He is also survived by eleven grandchildren, Levi Eris Ritchie, Anna Rachel Ritchie, Alexandria Elizabeth Ritchie, and Rebecca Grace Ritchie, of Abilene, Loryn Mackenzie Peace, Lyndsey Morganne Peace, and Jake Robert Peace, of Cisco, Hailee Erann Williams and David Riley Williams, of Red Oak, Texas, and Denver Michael Ritchie and Juliana Rene Ritchie, of Spring, Texas. He is also survived by his brother, Joe Ritchie and wife Ann, of Salado, Texas; as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews who he loved dearly.
The memorial service was held at the Cisco Church of Christ (1701 Ave. N.) on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at 2:00 PM. The public was invited to a viewing during the evening of Monday, January 18, 2016, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, at Kimbrough Funeral Home (300 W. 9th St.). Private interment will be held at Oakwood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Eris' memory to World Christian Broadcasting (TEL: 615-371-8707, www.worldchristian.org/GetInvolved/giving.php).
The family extends a special thanks to the staff of Hospice of the Big Country, a service of West Texas Rehabilitation Center, for the care and service they have provided.
Originally published in the Abilene Reporter-News on Jan. 18, 2016