Yukon education advocate dies at 83

Yukon lost a longtime advocate for education last week.

Dixie Ritz, 83, died Sept. 9 surrounded by her family.

Her funeral was Saturday at First Christian Church in Yukon. Internment was in Yukon Cemetery.

Ritz served on the Yukon School Board for 32 years. She was initially appointed in 1976. She left the board in 2007.

“She was one of Yukon’s best,” said Pam Shelton, who served as a home economics teacher at Yukon High School while Ritz was serving on the school board.

“She had a heart for Yukon. She fought for what was right and was tenacious. You didn’t mess with Miss Dixie,” Shelton said, who is now the chief executive officer of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce.

Shelton honored Ritz during Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon, which ironically was focused on the state of Yukon Schools.

“She always had the teachers in mind. She worked with the superintendents and principals. Everyone respected Dixie Ritz,” she said.

Shelton, who is on the board for the Yukon Public School’s Foundation for Excellence, said the foundation is seeking to raise money in Ritz’ honor to provide scholarships to Yukon teachers at the foundation’s annual banquet.

“We are hoping people will make donations of $32 or $100.32 or $3,200 in her honor,” Shelton said.

That would honor her length of service to the school district.

Ritz was more than on the school board. She also was a volunteer at the school. Shelton said that Ritz was instrumental in getting libraries at several elementary schools, including Myers, Central and Shedeck. She also was active in the state’s Parent Teacher Association program.

She volunteered with the school district’s Helping Hands program.

“What a servant she was. She was on my home economics’ advisory board and was instrumental in getting new sewing machines for me,” Shelton said.

Ritz also was a charter member of Yukon’s community education department’s advisory council.

In 2006, she was named the Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s HB Frank Citizen of the Year.

“She knew how to make people do the right thing. She was very important to the community and to education,” Shelton said.

Ritz was born Jan. 13, 1935, near Longdale. He parents were Pete and Lillian Meyer.

She and Lester “John” Ritz were married on Nov. 15, 1953.

He preceded her in death.

Ritz is survived by her children: Jana Walker, Judy Ritz; John Ritz, Joy Ritz and Jim Ritz, eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Leave a Comment