Cover photo for Marilyn Thompson Ritchie's Obituary
Marilyn Thompson Ritchie Profile Photo

Marilyn Thompson Ritchie

January 4, 1931 — January 15, 2024

Marilyn Thompson Ritchie

Marilyn Thompson Ritchie, a devoted homemaker and beloved mother, passed away on January 15, 2024, in Wichita, Kansas. She was born on January 4, 1931, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Royal Madison Thompson and Juanita Thompson. Marilyn was the youngest of five children and grew up with four brothers. Despite being a tomboy in her youth, she discovered her passion for music and became an accomplished pianist before attending the University of Kansas.

At the university, Marilyn pursued a major in music and became a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. It was there that she met the love of her life, Dave Ritchie. In 1950, after Dave's graduation, they took their vows and embarked on a lifelong journey together. Marilyn's dedication to their marriage was unwavering as they cherished sixty-six years together until Dave's passing in 2016.

As a homemaker and mother of four children, Marilyn created a warm and welcoming home in Wichita where countless cherished memories were made. Her family will forever hold dear the times spent at their vacation homes in Gull Lake, Minnesota, and Indian Wells, California. Marilyn had a natural talent for hospitality and always rolled out the red carpet for her loved ones. She effortlessly ensured that every detail was taken care of to make everyone feel special.

Marilyn's vibrant personality lit up every room she entered. She had an infectious energy that compelled her to dance whenever music filled the air. With her joyous spirit, Marilyn could always convince others to join in with her dance moves. Her positive outlook on life was evident in everything she did. Regardless of the circumstances, Marilyn remained happy and had an exceptional ability to bring happiness to those around her. She was known for carrying jokes in her purse which she would share during dinner time.

In addition to being a loving wife and mother, Marilyn maintained various interests throughout her life. She and Dave traveled extensively, exploring exotic destinations around the world. They visited China after it had reopened its doors, and they embarked on an unforgettable trip around the globe. Marilyn often spoke of her favorite journey to South Africa. While in Indian Wells, she enjoyed being a member of the El Dorado putting club and she also loved to needlepoint. Classic movies were among her favorite pastimes, and she would humorously joke about being one of the last subscribers to TV Guide magazine. Marilyn’s secret to her longevity was: cookies for breakfast, Russell Stover’s chocolates in the afternoon, and one Beck’s beer every night. She had a fierce sweet tooth. 

Marilyn found fulfillment in giving back to her community through active involvement with the Pi Beta Phi alumni association and the Junior League. Her dedication to these organizations showcased her deep-seated commitment to philanthropy and service.

Marilyn will be deeply missed by all who know her. She is survived by her loving children and grandchildren that will carry her legacy forward: son Proctor Ritchie, and grandchildren Hannah (Jon) Quinsey and Graham (Caitlin) Ritchie; daughter Julie Gladden, along with grandchildren Marilyn (Matthew) Cook, Jack (Aline) Gladden, and Steven (Molly) Gladden; daughter Jan Dorian, accompanied by grandchildren Evan (Brittany) Dorian, Chase (Anne) Dorian, and Carolyn (Geyer) Kosinski; and son Jack (LouAnn) Ritchie, embraced by grandchildren Sam (Anna) Ritchie, Dr. Cole (Dr. Jamie) Ritchie, and Daniel (Sloan Smith) Ritchie. Marilyn was also blessed with twenty great-grandchildren who brought immeasurable joy to her life.

A reception celebrating Marilyn Ritchie's remarkable life will be held on February 2, 2024, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 the Wichita Country Club. Friends and family are invited to gather to honor Marilyn's life and share cherished memories during this time of remembrance.

Marilyn's zest for life inspired all who knew her. Her kindness, infectious laughter, and unwavering positivity will forever be remembered as a bright light in the lives of those she touched. Although she may no longer be physically present, her spirit will continue to shine through the memories and stories shared by family and friends. Marilyn Thompson Ritchie left an indelible mark on this world, and her memory will be cherished eternally.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:

Historic Ritchie House, c/o Shawnee County Historical Society, P.O. Box 2201, Topeka, KS 66601

Past Services

Celebration of Life Reception

Friday, February 2, 2024

1:00 - 3:30 pm (Central time)

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