Horace Smart Ritch1913 - 1993 (79 years)
Name Horace Smart Ritch Born 28 Nov 1913 Savanna, Georgia, USA Gender Male Died 7 Apr 1993 Baptist General Hospital, Lyon, Coohama, Memphis, Tennesee, USA buried Oakridge Missisippi, USA Person ID I2702 Ritch Last Modified 22 Jan 2019
Father Andrew John Ritch, b. 14 May 1879, Greenhall, Deerness, Orkney , d. 30 Jan 1947, 27a Greenbank Drive, Liverpool (Age 67 years) Relationship natural Mother Isabel Mercede Smart, b. 16 Apr 1874, Emanuel County, Savanna, Georgia, USA , d. 17 May 1930, Domus, Townfield Road, West Kirby, Wirrall (Age 56 years) Relationship natural Married 29 Aug 1908 Manhattan, New York, USA Family ID F517 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Family 1 Nancy Weir Smith, b. 27 Jan 1918, Houston, Texas , d. 4 Sep 1994, Kerrville, Texas (Age 76 years) Married 23 Apr 1938 Harris, Texas Divorced UNKNOWN Children 1. Living 2. Living 3. Nancy Ritch, b. 23 Dec 1950, Clarksville, Mississippi USA , d. 21 Jun 2006, Kerrville, Texas, USA buried Glen Rest Cemetery Kerr, Texas (Age 55 years) [natural] Last Modified 22 Jan 2019 Family ID F1122 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Family 2 Living Last Modified 22 Jan 2019 Family ID F1123 Group Sheet | Family Chart
- at the 1920 USA census at Savanna, Chatam, Georgia
arrived in New York 1920 from Liverpool
arrived in USA on 12-9-1921 on the Celtic from Liverpool address 18E 34th Street, Savannah
Travelled 20-5-1932 from Liverpool to New York on the "Carinthia" a Student address 1 Townfield Road, West Kirby, Wirral
arrived at New York 30th May 1932 from Liverpool
Name: Horace Smart Ritch Estimated birth year: 1913 Age: 18
Gender: Male Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
Ship Name: Carinthia Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Nativity: Georgia Line: 9 Microfilm Serial: T715
Microfilm Roll: T715_5162
Birth Location: Georgia address given as 114 Catalpha Street, Clarksdale, Miss he was travelling with a William Lyon of the same address
and also at same address 27-8-1936 when travelling from Southampton to New York on the "Aqutania" occupation "Cotton"
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
about Horace S Ritch
Name: Horace S Ritch
Birth Year: 1913
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Georgia
County or City: Harris
Enlistment Date: 9 Jul 1942
Enlistment State: Texas
Enlistment City: Houston
Branch: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
death details from US Social Security Death Records however they give his birth as 1911
last address 38645 (Lyon, Coahoma, MS)
NOTE This is the 156th of a series of articles marking Kerr Countys 2006 sesquicentennial.
"Ritch family survived life's mixed blessings yet gave generously"
By Irene Van Winkle
Drama is what led him into theater, said longtime performer, Andrew Andy John Ritch. Not only did it stem from his desire for displaying his talents onstage, but also, he admits from experiencing much of it in his own family.
The family found respite, release and relief in the Hill Country, where Andy said he and his siblings began visiting their grandparents, Edwin and Vermeille Sears Smith, in the 1930s.
My father, Horace Smart Ritch (1913-1993) was a full-blooded Scotsman, Andy said. His father (Andrew John Ritch) came from the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.
Andrew John had been living in England, but came to America, and married Ysabel Smart. Besides Horace, who was born in Savannah, Ga., Andrew and Ysabel had an older son, Andrew John II. The family moved to England and Horace attended Merchiston Castle School in Scotland. Laterin 1938 he returned to the U.S.
Associated with Anderson-Clayton Cotton Factors in Houston Texas and in 1946 he moved to Clarksdale, Miss and was co-owner of Allen-Ritch Plantation. A member of St Andrews Society, Clarksdale Country Club, Cotton Council Elks Club and the American legion. A US Army captain in WW2
Horaces brother, Andrew John, II, after marrying a Scotswoman named Muriel, later moved to Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia), Africa, but his fate is shrouded in mystery.
He went there to be a farmer, but then, no one knows what happened to him, Andy said. Muriel moved back to Scotland with their two daughters, Sue and Hilary, who now live in Edinburgh. Maybe he was killed in an uprising. Even his daughters dont really know.
Horace married Nancy Smith and the couple had three children: Andy, Peter and Nancy.
Nancy Smiths parents were Erwin and Vermeille Sears Smith. Erwin, who became an oilman, had come from Denison, Texas and owned Houston Royalty Co. with his brother, Aubrey.
My grandparents, Erwin and Vermeille, lived at the old Rice Hotel in Houston, Andy said. Grandmothers uncle, Peter Gray Sears, was an Episcopal bishop, who gave such fiery sermons, sometimes his bridge would fall out and my mothers job was to retrieve it.
Vermeilles parents, Andy said, had come south before the Civil War from Virginia and then sailed on a barge to Alabama. The family had to deal with a major series of tragedies within a very brief span of time, and which were logged in a family journal.
Uncle Peter kept a diary from the 1830s, which is now at the University of Texas library, and he said that one of the familys worst losses was the death of six children within one week, Andy said.
In the 1930s, Vermeille and Erwin began coming to the Hill Country from Houston for the summers. Andy said that in the summers, his grandparents took over the role of parenting him and his siblings. He also went to Camp Rio Vista for Boys for three summers.
For the first couple of summers, they stayed on the South Fork at the old Koehler cottages, Andy said. Then, they bought property on the North Fork, which is in front of the entrance to La Hacienda, on the right. There was an old house, which they added to several times over the years. They called it Windy Hill.
When Andy, who was born in Houston, was 6 years old, Horace went into business with his cousin, Horace Allen, and planted cotton in Clarksdale, Miss., and the family relocated there. Horace had worked for Anderson-Clayton in England for four years, and for six years in Houston when he enlisted in the military after the U.S. entered WWII.
Horace had served earlier in the Texas Defense Guard, from which he was discharged in mid-1942, and by February, 1943, he was in the U.S. Army. He attended officers training at Fort Sill, Okla., and spent 13 months in the European Theater. He served as field artillery unit commander in the 87th A.F.A., over 100 men, and as operations and training and staff officer with the 205th F.A. Group in Europe.
Horace rose to the rank of captain, and later received several medals, including the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars for campaigns in the Rhineland and Central Europe.
Eventually, Horace and Nancy divorced, and went their separate ways.
Their children attended public school in Clarksdale, after which Andy and Pete went to Woodberry Forest School, an exclusive prep high school north of Charlottesville, Va.
Andy enjoyed his time there, and said it was a blast, and never resented being sent off to school, away from problems brewing at home.
From there, he went to Ole Miss, (University of Mississippi) where he majored in speech and theater. He was there at the same time as the schools first black student, James Meredith.
He obtained both a bachelors and masters degree there, and after teaching in Mississippi, came back to Kerr County and began teaching at Schreiner.
He met his wife, Sally, and they found a common bond onstage. Sally, who had been teaching at New Braunfels, came to Tivy High School. The pair married in 1972.
The couple had four children between them from previous marriages, and then had a child together.
Andys mother and sister opened a store called the Hummingbird, which since has closed, while Andy went into the travel business with Dick Snyder at Chaparral Travel. He and Sally have traveled extensively.
Ive gone to Europe, Canada and many places around the world with small groups, Andy said, but my favorite place is Alaska, where Ive been 15 times.
Andy plans now to have a studio at its present location on Hwy. 16 South, where he will sell works of art, including his own paintings.
Finding a totally different path in life, Andys brother, Pete, he said, was a free spirit.
Pete said he, too, loved summering in Hunt, and remembered his grandparents.
Erwin died the year I went into the Air Force, and I remember he was very strict, and very proper about everything, Pete said. He dressed impeccably and always wore a coat and tie.
Of his grandmother, Vermeille, Pete said, she was very active, smart as a tack, and a really fun person to be around. So genuine. She lived to be 99 years old and nine days.
Pete followed in Andys footsteps, at least when he entered high school, but then things changed.
I never graduated. I went to Woodberry School, too, for a while, but I really didnt like the regime, so I got out of it, and joined the Air Force, Pete said. I spent some time in Roswell, N.M., and after I got out, I moved to Tampico, Mexico.
Pete married several times, and now has two daughters and a son. He shared a love of farming with his father, and in Mexico, he had more than 5,000 acres where he raised a myriad of crops ranging from cotton to corn, watermelons and squash.
He took up competing in fishing tournaments all around the Texas Gulf, and befriended fellow fisherman Clyde Watson. They won not only trophies but cash prizes. He said he remembered the big one that didnt get away a 706-pound blue marlin.
I was on a six-man team in the late 1980s, and was at Bridge Harbor in Freeport, he said. When the fish hit, I got the youngest, strongest guy on the team to bring it in. We were four hours offshore, and made it back with just 25 minutes to spare to get the fish weighed in.
He had a serious accident once, when a wahoo hed reeled in began sliding around on deck and tore into his foot, cutting the Achilles tendon.
It took a few months to heal up, but thats about the worst thing that ever happened on a boat, Pete said. Pretty much, I had a lot of companionship and fun with fishing.
Pete returned to the Hill Country permanently nearly 15 years ago, and he now lives near Tegner Creek near musician Junior Pruneda. He is also assistant chief at the Hunt Volunteer Fire Department.
Both Pete and Andy have reconnected and are pleased to be near each other.
After attending Clarksdale schools, their sister, Nancy, was sent to boarding school in Memphis, Tenn., Lausanne Collegiate School, originally known as Lausanne School for Girls.
She moved to Mexico, too, but left earlier than Pete. She had married Sherman Baker, and had a son. Nancy returned to the Hill Country, but passed away about two years ago. Andy said she was very skilled as an interior designer, and for a time, she partnered with Sheryl Sterling.
Nancy also owned the Main Book Store, which operated on Earl Garrett Street and then Main in Kerrville.
Meanwhile, their grandmother, Vermeille, found a good cause and helped enhance the Hill Country Arts Foundation, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
In troubled economic times, Andy said, people need a way to escape, and the theater and galleries in Ingram have been an escape hatch for thousands of audience members and visitors. It was fortuitous for the community that not only he, but his grandmother, mother and sister were all reunited to the Hill Country within several years.
Vermeille Smith made a generous contribution to the theater, Andy said, along with the material support of her daughter, Nancy, and Andy himself, after which the theater was renamed the Smith-Ritch Point Theatre.
It all happened because granddads oil company sold to Humble (now Exxon) Oil, Andy said.
Their donation helped build a 700-plus-seat upgraded outdoor amphitheatre. The facility also has a state-of-the-art 1,900-square-foot gallery, four art instruction studios, a ceramics studio with kilns, the indoor Elizabeth Huth-Coates Theatre and the Curtain Call, which hosts receptions and special events.
Ongoing programs with schools in the area teach theater arts, set design and construction, acting, make-up and costuming. HCAF also sponsors a youth art show for area schools.
The theater department also provides acting classes and theater workshops. It has an active youth program, including an association with Ingram Tom Moore High School.
The visual arts department hosts eight to 12 exhibits annually, several of them national juried shows. In addition, its art workshops, many taught by nationally know instructors, attract artists from all over the country. The art studios are in use year-round by local residents and summer workshops for both youth and adults.
Executive Director David Cockerell, said he looked forward to an exciting summer season this year which will include Treasure Island, Beauty and the Beast, and Greater Tuna.
Through the years, Andy and Sally have maintained their association with the HCAF, appearing in many roles, as well as staying active in its operations. He said that the audience is key to the venue.
We need clappers, because with the actors and the play, it completes the art form, he said.
However, as much as he loves drama, Andy said he hopes that from now on, most of it will take place on stage.
In 1947 when his brother Andrew travelled from Liverpool to New York, Horaces address was given as PO Box 557 Lyon, Miss, USA
LYON, Miss. Horace Smart Ritch, 79, died Wednesday at Baptist Central Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
He was born in Savannah and moved with his family to England, and attended Murckeston's Castle School in Scotland. He returned in 1938 and was associated with Anderson-Clayton Cotton Factors in Houston, Texas, and in 1946, he moved to Clarksdale, Miss., and was co-owner of Allen-Ritch Plantation. He was a member of St. Andrews Society, Clarksdale Country Club, Cotton Council, Elks Club and the American Legion. He was a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Surviving are his wife, Patricia Gant Ritch of Lyon, two sons, Andrew John Ritch of Kerrville, Texas, and Peter Gray Ritch of Brownsville, Texas, two step-sons, Michael David May of Jackson, Miss. and O.A May of Columbus, Miss., a daughter Nancy Ritch Baker of Atlanta, a step-daughter Sharon May OBrien of Memphis, 12 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
- at the 1920 USA census at Savanna, Chatam, Georgia