Joseph Ritz, American author and playwright, Died at 86


Joseph P. Ritz was born in 1929 in Chicago and died on January 4, 2016, in Hamburg, NY.

He was an author, playwright, and journalist in Buffalo, NY.

His natural parents are not known.

He was adopted by Joseph Ritz (originally Rizzo) and his wife, Helen, and raised in Canton, Ohio.

Joseph graduated from Catholic grade school and Central Catholic High School there.

Ritz joined the Army in 1948, was stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash., and was deployed to Fort Richardson, Alaska, near Anchorage, after the start of the Korean War.

Joseph had his first newspaper article, featuring a story on Army ski exercises, published in the Tacoma Tribune while he was at Fort Lewis.

In Alaska, Joseph entered the Anchorage Writers Club.

After his discharge, Joseph attended Seattle University and worked as a hopper for the Seattle Times.

He delivered bundles of newspapers to stores.

After his first year, Joseph transferred to Marquette University, where he majored in journalism, was an associate editor of the Marquette Journal, the student magazine; and worked part-time as a copy boy for the Milwaukee Sentinel when it was a Hearst newspaper.

Joseph graduated from Marquette with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in February 1955.

Mr.Ritz’s first job out of college was as a news writer for Radio Station WFDF in Flint, Michigan.

Joseph also was a stringer for the Detroit Times and United Press.

He became a reporter for the Gloversville Leader-Herald, the New Haven Journal-Courier and the Newburgh Evening News.

In the early 1960’s, Joseph also was assistant news director for Fordham University.

At the Newburgh Evening News, Joseph wrote part of a news series named The Road to Integration that won a 1964 Pulitzer Citation for Public Service for the Gannett Group of newspapers.

In 1964, he went to The Buffalo Courier-Express, where he was a reporter, copy editor and editorial writer at different times until the paper went out of business in September 1982.

Joseph Ritz then was an education, business and labor writer for The Buffalo News.

Ritz weekly column on labor unions earned him several awards.

Joseph Ritz retired in 1993.

In retirement, Ritz proceeded to write freelance.

Joseph Ritz articles appeared in the New York Sun, The New York Herald-Tribune, The London Express and the National Catholic Reporter.

Ritz left his wife of 57 years, Ann; five children and eight grandchildren.

Joseph Ritz passed away at 86 yrs old.