Armande Ritter, well known Salem resident, passed away peacefully in her home December 2, 2023, surrounded by close family.
Armande was an integral part of the Salem community, sharing her love of art, nursing, exercise, and natural childbirth with all those she encountered. A San Francisco native, Armande obtained her Bachelor’s in nursing from the University of San Francisco and went on to earn her Master’s from New York University in 1965. She worked as public health and school nurse in both San Francisco and Salem.
Armande moved to Salem in 1966 after marrying Daniel Ritter, the love of her life and her soulmate. Armande gave birth to four children, Benjamin Tobias, Katharine Marguerite, Julian Andrew, and Damien Albert. While raising her children, Armande was active in public health, introducing natural childbirth to the community in 1969 and fighting for the right for fathers to be present during delivery.
In 1971, Armande founded the Salem Childbirth Education Association. Armande also had a lifelong interest in fitness and exercise. She taught pregnancy fitness classes at Moving Parts studio and stretch and strengthen classes at several locations throughout Salem before finally retiring in 2015. Through her passion and drive to empower families through exercise education, she transformed the lives of hundred of families.
Armande was also very involved in arts and was encouraged to pursue art by her mother and the teachers at the San Francisco Presentation school. She won several competitions as a child and later a scholarship the the California College of Arts and Crafts. Throughout her life, she continued to grow as an artist, painting in water colors, working in mixed media collage and linoleum block printing, and creating projects using her favorite Marimekko fabrics. In 1997, her collage and print works were featured in a showing at the Salem Public Library, titled “Bits and Pieces.”
In 2007, Armande lost her beloved husband, Dan, and in 2012, endured the loss of her daughter Kate. She is survived by her sons Benjamin, Julian, Damien, her very dear granddaughter, Chloe, and her brother, Roland Cushway as well as brothers- and sisters-in-law, many nieces and nephews, and numerous close friends.
A memorial service will be held in her honor from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, December 16, 2023, in the banquet room at Ritter’s at 102 Liberty St. N.E. in Salem.
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