Sharon Leatrice (Karr) Ritzman, age 79, died on February 8th 2021 with the love of her life, Dr. Vern Ritzman, by her side in the home where they’ve lived for 50+ years in Golden, Colorado. Sharon fought a long battle with interstitial lung disease and complications thereto, and her 12+ year survival of this relentless illness is a true testament to her feisty spirit. In addition to her husband, Sharon is survived by her son, Michael Ritzman, of Breckenridge, Colorado; her daughter, Michelle (Matt) Spidell, of Glenwood Springs, Colorado; grandson Trevor Ritzman of Lakewood, CO; and furry granddaughters Daisy and Maya. She is preceded in death by her parents, Floyd & Elizabeth (Small) Karr of Omaha, Nebraska, and her sister and brother-in-law, Betty (Karr) Younkin and Millard Younkin, of Arizona.
Sharon’s childhood was spent in Omaha, Nebraska where she enjoyed modern dance and other girlish delights. After graduating high school as a Benson Bunny, Sharon went on to attend the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, which she used to outsmart her family on many occasions! During her time at the U of Iowa where she was an active member of Pi Beta Phi, a sorority sister introduced Sharon to Vern on a blind date. After whisking this beautiful lady off her feet, Vern and Sharon were married August 28,1965 in Omaha. Friends of Vern’s still claim he “outkicked his coverage,” but almost 56 years later, Sharon and Vern were still an amazing team!
Following their wedding, Sharon accompanied Vern on his career path of family medicine, all the while holding a variety of meaningful positions herself. Accomplishments include chief operator for Northwestern Bell Telephone in Sioux City & Iowa City, Iowa, client advocate with the Colorado Job Corps, special assistant to the United States Air Force Red Horse Officer Corps at Osan Air Force Base in Korea (’68-’69 Pueblo Incident), healthcare quality assurance consultant for Northrop Corporation (’84 Saudi Arabia), office manager of Vern’s practice, President of both the Clear Creek Valley and Colorado Medical Society Auxiliaries, advocate for child health issues through the American Medical Association, and long-time Denver Bronco fan - possibly the most daunting job of them all! Sharon was also an important part of the community in which she and Vern raised their family and likely her most proud achievement was as owner of her own ladies’ boutique, Stepping Out, located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. She and her daughter had fun, fashionable times running the boutique together until her retirement in 2004.
During retirement, she and Vern shared a love of “value-priced” wines and fun times. Until more recently, their children thought Two-Buck Chuck was an uncle they’d never met! She and Vern traveled the country in their ‘modest’ RV, all 40 feet of it! Sharon enjoyed decorating their home on wheels and her love of animal print spanned far and wide. Who knew the inside of an RV could look like the outside of a cheetah! Sharon and Vern also enjoyed floating the seas and their final trip together was an around-the-world cruise in 2019. They formed many friendships throughout life; you know who you are and they’ll never forget the great times you had!
Due to COVID19, a celebration of life will be held at a later date, when it is safe for family & friends to gather. In the meantime, we encourage you to share your stories of time spent with Sharon at the Horan & McConaty guestbook found at HoranCares.com. Sharon loved watching Kyle Clark on 9 News at 6pm, so if you are inclined, instead of sending flowers or carb-filled casseroles, please make a donation to a “Word of Thanks” from Next with Kyle Clark. Each week Kyle highlights a new non-profit doing crucial work in Colorado and there a variety from which to choose, so please pick one that appeals to you. (Search 9news.com for Word of Thanks for more information) We love you mom! Raising a glass of chardonnay to you!