William Ritchie
William Ritchie
William Ritchie
William Ritchie
William Ritchie

Obituary of William Ritchie

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William Ritchie

January 31, 1922 -  June 24, 2024


William, affectionately known as Willie, was born in a small fishing village called Rosehearty on the east coast of Scotland. He was the only child of Edwin and Maryellen Ritchie. He had the nickname of Willie jumper because he always wore hand knitted jumpers made by his mother. The family had a pet budgie, Joey, and his mother would shout "Willie get up for school" Joey would then repeat "Willie get up for school, Willie get up for school" until he got up. Clever bird indeed.


When Willie left school he worked at Forbes boatyard in Sandhaven on the east coast.During the war he and his father worked on a boat tender in Scapa Flow ferrying people and the mails back and forward. The family moved to Oban and Willie worked on his father's fishing boat. Willie and his father sailed their boat from Rosehearty to Oban.


Willie met a beautiful lady in Oban called Anne Stewart and after many months of courtship they married in 1948. They had 8 children, Mary, Adaliene, Elaine, Jennifer, Edwina, William, Archie and Stewart. They also have many grandchildren and great grandchildren scattered all over the globe. From being an only child Willie has certainly built his own empire.


Years later Willie, at the age of 70, with his son Archie, sailed a small boat from Oban to the Isle of Skye. The boat did not have any navigation, the night was very still and clear and Willie navigated by the stars and the headland.  They made the Coastguards aware of their trip (who thought they were mad), the journey was uneventful and they arrived safely in Skye much to the astonishment of the said Coastguards.


Willie had a variety of jobs over the years . He was a weaver in MacDonalds Tweed Mill in Oban until it closed. He was a stoker in the local gas works and we remember going in to see him working, stripped to the waist and glowing with sweat as he shoveled the cole into the furnaces. He was an accomplished steel fixer and when he finished his shift at the gas works, would then go and do a shift steel fixing He also worked in the construction of Cruachan Power Station at Lochawe until it was completed. With the sea in his blood he was back on the waves at the Marine Lab in Dunbeg, as cook/deckhand on the vessel Seol Mara. Willie bought himself a small boat which was moored at Puildorain, south of Oban and he would pull his lobster pots in the evenings, usually with a good catch. Willie made all his own creel pots with hazel branches and knitted the nets the traditional way with twine and a shuttle. As children we would sit and watch as the net grew from a loop round the door handle to a square of netting. Willie was a man of many hidden talents indeed.


They moved to Peterborough in 1978 and after a good few years took themselves back to Scotland and settled in Glendale, Isle of Skye, they then upped sticks again and moved to Rosehearty and then settled in New Aberdour, a few miles outside Rosehearty. After a few years there they emigrated to Canada and as they say, the rest is history.


Willie was a hard working man all his life making sure his wife and children had the best that he could afford. Even after retiring he was always on the go, in his garden tending to his vegetables and even when he was in his 90s, up a ladder fixing loose tiles on the roof, clearing the gutters or climbing trees and trimming back some branches.


Willie was not a man who was all work and no play, he enjoyed a few drams in company and loved to sing. I'm sure everyone has heard his swan song at least once or twice. The cooshie doo and my old lavender trousers. Family gatherings or nights with friends always ended with a good singsong.


By the 70s, Mary and Adaliene has flown the nest and Elaine had turned 18. In those distant days the pubs closed at 10pm which, for an 18 year old, was far too early to go home. Anne, a qualified nurse, was working weekend nightshift in Dalintart Hospital which was a long stay hospital for the elderly while Willie was home with the younger members of the family. What do you do on a Saturday night at 1Opm, get a wee carryout and bring some of your friends back to the house, get Willie out of bed and have a wee party, which inevitably ended with a sing song. Many a time poor Anne came home to find her husband snoring away after consuming a good few drams. I'm pleased to say that Jennifer and Edwina also continued that Saturday night routine when Elaine flew the nest. It was not every weekend but a good few weekends over the years.


We all have great memories and stories from our youth and could regale them for hours, which we probably will do while having a few drams to toast the long and happy life of the wonderful man who was a loving husband to Anne for 76 years, a father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend to so many. Will there be a singsong? Of that there is no doubt and a great rendition of a wee cooshie doo will reach the Heavens.


We are all so proud of you dad, the legend is now at peace.


William is survived by his loving wife of seventy six years, Anne; children:  Elaine (Angus) MacKinnon, Jennifer (Neil) Christie, Edwina (Hugh) Aitcken and Archie (Sheena) Ritchie; grandchildren:  Anne Chapman, John Stewart, Kenny Stewart, Chris Stewart, Angela Baker, Ian MacFadgen, Carol Campbell, Steven MacKinnon, Graham MacKinnon, Neil Christie, Jamie Christie, Catriona Christie, Matthew Christie, Duncan Aitcken, Jacqueline Johnson, William Ritchie, Scott Ritchie, Andrew Ritchie, Robbie Ritchie, Archie Ritchie, Allen Ritchie and John Ritchie; twenty two great grandchildren; one great great grandchild; as well as many dear friends.

William was predeceased by his parents Edwin and Mary Ritchie; daughters Mary Clarke and Adeline MacFadgen and son William.

A Private Family Service

Will Be Held


Memorial Donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or to a charity of your choice.

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