In Memory of

Dr. Russell H. Ritter

January 6, 1926 - May 31, 2023


Dr. Russell H. Ritter, born in Lee’s Summit on Jan 6, 1926, passed away on May 31, 2023, at the age of 97.   

 Russell graduated from LSHS in 1944.  After serving in the US Army Air Corps, he received his doctorate degree from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry and returned to Lee’s Summit where he practiced optometry for 40 years.  Throughout his career, Russell provided vision testing and eyeglasses to many needy children and received the Distinguished Service Award from the LS Lions Club for his service to the community.  Russell was a longstanding member of the Optometric Society and served on several of the society’s governing boards.   

 Russell was elected to the LS Board of Education in 1962 and served as a member and later as President of the Board, for 18 years.  His tenure on the board was marked by rapid growth within the R-7 school district and the construction of several new school buildings.   

 Russell served as Chair of the LS Airport Commission from 1975 to 1994.  Russell, a private pilot, owned a Debonaire which he took on many cross-country trips and trips to remote Canadian lakes for fishing with friends.  Russell took a very personal interest in seeing McComas Airport become an important part of the growth of LS, expanding and eventually becoming the LS Municipal Airport.   

 A trombone player since his youth, Russell found many opportunities to play throughout his life.  He entered the Army just as WWII was ending and, there being little need for new pilots, Russell became part of a stage band, entertaining at various Army bases.  After returning to LS, he joined the Unity Band then under the direction of Carl Frangkiser and later, Keith House.  In 2003 Russell was a charter musician in the LS Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Russ Berlin, playing until the age of 85.  Russell also enjoyed singing, and joined the LS United Methodist Church Men of Note, under the direction of Larry Keisker.  

 Russell was inducted into the LSHS Hall of Fame in 2001.  He was a member of the LS Rotary Club and the Masonic Lodge, and he enjoyed his hobbies of woodworking, gardening, hunting, fishing, flying, and music.    

 Russell was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Glee Ritter.  He is survived by his daughter Susan Newsam and her husband John; his son Don and his wife Mary; his grandchildren Carl, Cole, Leslie, Paige, and Kathryn; great grandchildren Maisie, Kayla, Kevin, Ayden; and many close family nieces and nephews.   

 The family would like to thank the staff of Villages of Jackson Creek Assisted Living for over 6 years of caretaking as well as Melissa and Advance Hospice for their wonderful care.   

 Services will be held at Langsford Funeral Home and officiated by a special family friend Dr. Steve House on June 10, 2023 with visitation at 9:00 a.m. and services at 10:00 a.m. followed by burial at the LS Cemetery.  Memorial contributions to the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra are encouraged.   


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My deepest sympathy on the passing of Dr. Ritter. May his memory be a blessing for his family and friends. A life well lived.

Dr. Ritter was such a sweet soul. I had so many history talks with him. His mind was as sharp as a tack. I will miss him anf his cuteness. Susie has been a spectavular daughtet.

Thankful for the focus that Uncle Russell had upon excellence and service to the community and to the Lord. Rest in peace dear Uncle.
Randy and Laura

Dear Susan
We are saddened by the death of your father.
What a pillar of our society. He has left a wonderful legacy.
Our hearts go out to you and your family.
Love from Steph and Wally

Susie: So sorry to hear of the loss of your Father.
My compliments on the beautiful obituary that you wrote….makes me wish I would have had the privilege to have met your Father. I know that these can be challenging times but you have many wonderful memories together over the years… and I admire the way you attended to him over the last few years. In times like this, I often refer to a saying by Dr. Seuss…”Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

A wonderful man has begun the next phase of his life. He will be greatly missed. Louise and Larry

Mr. Ritter was a fine Christian gentleman who was dedicated to his community, school district, his city and many many worthwhile causes. He will miss by many!

I got my first glasses from him and went to him for years until he retired. He was a fantastic person. He made an impression on all those he met. God has another great angel in his group.

I am so sorry for the loss of your father. He was such a joy to be around. We had many conversations over the years. Thank you for sharing him with all of us at the Villages. He will be sorely missed.


Saturday, June 10, 2023
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063


Saturday, June 10, 2023
10:00 AM
Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063