May 28, 1941 – November 6, 2021
Constance Cecile Finch Ritter, 80, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, died on Saturday, November 6, 2021 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Connie was born on May 28, 1941 to Margaret Lucille Hebert Finch and Colonel Charles Samuel Finch, Sr in Vincennes, IN. After graduating from El Colegio Americano in Caracas, Venezuela in 1958, she pursued studies in art history at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
While attending OU, his father moved with the US military to Fort. Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. While on vacation at college in 1960, she met Reverend B. Edward Ritter. They married on June 17, 1961 and soon moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Their first child, Deborah Cecile, was born in 1962 while Connie was finishing her education at Queens College.
In 1964, they moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where her husband, Ed, began a long career in numerous ministerial positions at Centenary United Methodist Church. Their son, Charles Edward, was born in 1966. Connie was also active in Centenary. She taught the College Sunday School class for many years and wrote a newsletter for students across the country called “The Current Bull”. His bond with these students has become the basis of many long-standing friendships. Young adults always filled the Ritter House, with particularly fond memories of game nights, dinners, camping trips, and holiday celebrations.
Connie has taught art and pottery in the Winston-Salem / Forsyth County school system, including Dalton Junior High, Paisley High, and Moore Elementary. She then moved to Summit School and taught until her retirement in 2003. She enjoyed teaching art and surrounding herself with learning children. Her favorite children came later in 1997 and 2000, when her two grandsons, Thompson and Charlie, were born.
In 2006, she moved to Arbor Acres, a place where she and Ed had been instrumental in the formation and development of its creation by the Methodist Church of North Carolina. Before Ed’s death in 2001, they had dreamed that this would be his last home despite having children living in other states. She lived in an independent life until 2010 when she moved into skilled nursing at the Fitzgerald Health Center, named after her husband’s best friend, Bishop Earnest A. Fitzgerald, and his wife, Francis.
Life has given Connie a rich appreciation for beauty, the arts, reading, and education. Growing up with a military father, she lived all over the country and in Venezuela. She developed a thirst for travel, history, learning and teaching. She was a talented painter, knitter and craftswoman. She became involved in human and women’s rights issues in the 1970s and traveled across the state advocating for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
At 53, she received her Masters of Arts and Liberal Studies from Wake Forest University. Her thesis was a short story collection titled When Peonies Come in Bloom: Stories from Indiana.
Connie was predeceased by her parents and husband. She is survived by her daughter, Deborah Ritter Brancato (Anthony John Brancato) of Spring, TX; son, Charles Edward Ritter (Jennifer Thompson Ritter); grandsons, Thompson Edward Ritter and Charles Fitzgerald Ritter of Athens, GA; brother, Charles S. Finch, Jr. (Nancy Gulick Finch) of Greensboro, GA; niece, Cathryn Suzanne Finch (Scot Stewart) and their three children, Sam, Henry and Maggie Stewart of Gainesville, GA; and Ms. Michelle Joyner of Walnut Cove, North Carolina, who has been a constant companion and visitor for over 20 years.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday November 10, 2021 at Centenary United Methodist Church, 657 W 5th St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Centennial United Methodist Church, Parkinson’s Foundation, Arbor Acres, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
2901 Lyndhurst Ave, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103
Published by Winston-Salem Journal from November 8-9, 2021.