David F. Ritchie


Ritchie, David F., 85, of Hope Street, Rumford, died on March 9, 2024 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of Sharon Kay (Francia) Ritchie.

Born in New Bedford, MA, a son of the late David W. and Ida (Cory) Ritchie, he lived in Rumford for the past three years, previously residing in Pittsburgh, PA.

David graduated from the University of Cincinnati Class of 1960 where he earned a master’s degree.

Mr. Ritchie was a college and professional football coach for 50 years before retiring in 2012. David began his coaching career in 1962 as an assistant coach with Greenbrier Military School.

He was an assistant coach with his alma mater, Cincinnati, from 1969 to 1972. He later joined the Brown Bears as an assistant coach and head recruiter. Thereafter, David was the head coach for the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons, from 1978 to 1982, where he compiled a 35–13–3 record.

He was a former American gridiron football coach in college football, the Canadian Football League (CFL), the Italian Football League (IFL), and Switzerland Nationalliga A (American football). He is best known for his time as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach from 1999 to 2004. He was a three-time Grey Cup champion, having won in 1990, 1994, and 2006 and was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year in 2001. He won 108 regular season games as a head coach in the CFL which is the seventh highest win total by a head coach in the league’s history.

Mr. Ritchie was named to the Fairmont State Hall of Fame in 2010, following five years as a head coach there with two conference titles and one Coal Bowl victory in 1979. He is a member of the Blue Bomber Hall of Fame as the fourth-winningest head coach in team history with a record of 52–44–1 and winning a Grey Cup as an assistant coach in 1990.

Mr. Ritchie was enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 2022 as a builder.

Besides his wife of 65 years, he is survived by two daughters, Phyllis R. Buckley and her husband Jay of Riverside and Susan E. Custer and her husband Dan of Barrington, a son, David W. Ritchie of Rumford; eight grandchildren, Sarah, Matthew, Daniel, David, Katelyn, Kendra, Kylie and David; three great-grandchildren, two brothers, Frank J. Ritchie and his late wife Carole of Cincinnati, Ohio and Philip A. Ritchie and his wife Barbara of Raleigh, NC and a sister Susan R. Todres and her husband Allen of Franklin, MA and several nieces and nephews.

His Funeral Service will be held on Saturday March 16, 2024 in the W. RAYMOND WATSON FUNERAL HOME, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside at 9 a.m. A private burial will follow in Beach Grove Cemetery, Westport, MA.

The Ritchie family will receive relatives and friends for a Celebration of Life on Saturday March 16, 2024 from 1-3 p.m. in the Blue Water Grill Restaurant, 32 Barton Avenue, Barrington, RI 02806.

Calling Hours and flowers are respectfully omitted. Contributions in David’s memory to The Wolf School, 215 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI, 02916 would be deeply appreciated.