DAVID BURTON RITCHIE
November 22, 1977 - October 20, 2022
It is with the deepest heartfelt sorrow that we announce the passing of our Dave, David Burton Ritchie. On October 20th, 2022, at the Brandon Regional Health Centre, Dave was reunited with his late family members, Grandma Ritchie, Grandma and Grandpa Hofer, his Uncle Ben, Aunties; Maggie, Esther, and Arlene. His cousin Crystal, and his Dad, Mike Ritchie.
Dave’s life was so full and rich, it is beyond words to describe. There is no way to sum up or even to begin to mention the incredible journey that was Dave’s life. He was not ready to leave yet. He had so many plans and projects to finish and even more yet to start. Dave was not the kind of guy who would want us to spend our time mourning his passing, but rather to remember our fondest memories of him and Celebrate his Life, with a party in his name. Here are some of those memories.
For some strange reason, Dave loved his double digits… he was born on 11/22/77, he passed in 2022, after living 44 years. Whenever we see doubles, we always think of Dave and will continue to do so for the remainder of our time here.
At an early age, it was clear Dave was going to be a mischievous, and fearless person. When he was 3 years old, he got a hold of his Dad’s zippo, and “accidentally” lit a pile of clothes on fire!
His love of dirt bikes probably began around age 5, when he and his brother Rick would get picked up from school by their Dad on his Can-Am dirt bike. When he got his first bmx bike, he would gladly stick his foot in the front tire to do an endo, where he would fly over the handlebars just to entertain his brother Rick.
He grew up outdoors on the edge of the city always doing something active outside, usually on his bike, Dave and his brother would find a spot in nature to explore and enjoy activities like tobogganing, building forts, snowball fights, catching crayfish and tadpoles, building bike jumps and climbing trees. One time when he was taking his beloved dog Bear for a run with his brother and Dad they climbed a tree and disturbed a bee’s nest luckily escaping home with only 30-40 stings.
When Dave wasn't exploring he was into hockey, he played center, always #10 and he was a star, sometimes scoring up to 10 goals in a game. He loved watching NHL, he collected and traded hockey cards, even had a Gretzky rookie card. He loved playing street hockey and sometimes he would play goalie and let people shoot hard pucks at him while not wearing any goalie equipment, he trusted his reflexes. Even without protection he played like he was invincible - and he was. That’s Dave. No fear. That attribute definitely followed him for life.
Every summer of Daves youth was spent on family camping trips where Dave would collect firewood, go fishing, swim and snorkel, cruise around on his bike, carve sticks or just play with the fire. Every autumn they went on family road trips all over North America where Dave got to see Mexico, Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, The Badlands, The Alamo, Graceland, Devils Tower, giant redwoods, oceans, mountains and caves and every other attraction you can think of. When they ate at restaurants Dave was so predictable…. French toast…every… time. When they stayed at hotels Dave loved to swim and sit in the hot tub. Later in life he liked to sing that Johnny Cash song, “I've been everywhere”
In Dave's teenage years his love of hockey continued but he also learned to be a great skateboarder mastering many tricks and even “slid an 11-stair railing” once. He also got good at golf using a new grip style with a backhand swing that he invented and table tennis where he also invented a unique grip on the paddle that worked wonders for him. Some of his other favorite sports were volleyball, whether it was in the gym, or at the beach, but mostly in the field at Mom's house where they had many epic games with family and friends. He played on a lacrosse team, he downhill skied all around Manitoba, Big White and Jasper, and he even enjoyed cross-country skiing combined with winter camping once in a while. He was a Pitcher on his baseball team. This was appropriate because He could throw anything with amazing accuracy, whether it was a dart, rock, stick, ball, frisbee, throwing knife or horse shoe, it didn't take him long to hit his target.
He was also a regular hiker, although he wouldn't call that a sport. Dave, Rick and their good friend Dan hiked the 63 km long Mantario Trail once in spring. Unfortunately, the high water flooded out much of the path. Instead of a nice leisurely hike, it became a mini Eco Challenge. They had to bushwhack nearly the whole time. Dave blazed the trail for them most of the way. They were on the trail for 3 days.
Dave was a talented natural athlete and has won many accolades throughout his life. He won countless hockey medals, trophies, MVPs, table tennis tournaments… you name it. He loved to compete and he was good at it.
As he approached his graduating year he moved to B.C. with his Dad and brother and continued his schooling while they explored the possibilities of relocating permanently. They lived just outside of Kelowna in a cabin on the lake with their good friend Justin and their dogs Phantom and Pheadrus. Dave would explore the shorelines and one time both him and Rick came home blistered and bubbled from head to toe because they walked through a patch of some sort of poisonous toxic plant, they believed it was stinging nettles. They built their own furniture and even a raft out of logs to cross the lake on. Dave spent time studying Bruce Lee's martial art Jeet-Kune-Do, stretching and practicing high kicks on their punching bag. After the school year ended they came back to Winnipeg and surprised the family, who they missed too much.
Memories… Do you remember how Dave could fall asleep anywhere? In the high chair while eating, while climbing stairs, and even at the dentist! Oh Dave…
Do you recall how Dave was the worst at opening presents…. The amount of time it would take him to unwrap one was simply.................. UNBEARABLE - but he enjoyed every moment of it.
This memory is for the uncles and aunties, do you remember this? - “Wicky Wears Wubber Boots in his Wubber Waft.”
He loved being with his cousins. Whether it was just hanging out playing chess, volleyball, hacky-sack, climbing, wrestling with them or tormenting his younger cousins with a couple of Dave specials… a “mercy fight", “The Gripper” .... The “Toebite” .... His cousins all have their own stories about Dave. He was something unique to each of them and some have said, much of what they know, in some way they learned from their big cousin Dave - Our Dave.
Dave was forever the jokester in the crowd. He was very polite, outgoing, and humble when he should be, but once he got to know you, he would let his playfulness, sarcasm, and humor fly! It was so fun going to any family gathering or event with him. He had a tendency to whisper something to you or give you a funny look that would instantly make you laugh, usually at the most inappropriate moment!
Dave worked as a carpenter, a trade that he learned from his uncles who taught him well. He always bragged about the ‘family crew’ to anyone that would listen. Every crew he worked for was always impressed with his skillfulness and work ethic; bosses called him a "money maker"! He was always so helpful, if he saw somebody needed a hand he would drop whatever he was doing to go help them and then teach them a trick or give some advice. He was an expert in all things carpentry, except for punctuality. That's Dave though! He was never late, he just arrived precisely when HE wanted to!
During his young adulthood, one of Dave’s true passions in life emerged, rock climbing! Every summer weekend became a trip to the cliffs where Dave would spend most of his time with Rick and Glen camping and exploring the cliffs, finding new areas, finding new routes, cleaning the routes and climbing them. During the week he would think up names and ratings for the new routes and draw maps documenting them. His winters were spent climbing indoors at the local climbing gym and setting routes for others to enjoy, or building indoor climbing walls of his own. His outgoing nature, incredible sense of humor and natural charisma made him many new friends in the climbing community. He even got invited to go on a winter climbing trip to Las Vegas where he got to climb the Red Rocks with the pros and he even won a climbing competition while he was there. One day, as a prank, his buddies loaded up his backpack with large rocks and he spent the day hiking around without even noticing because he was just so excited to see the new cliffs. In 2020 a new Kenora Climbing Guidebook was published using much of Dave’s documentation. He established around 50 of the hardest bouldering problems in the book as well as countless unpublished ones in other areas.
Those that knew Dave, know that it is almost impossible to talk about Dave without including his older brother Rick. They grew up together, played sports together, hung out together, worked together, climbed together, lived together, they even bought a house together, let's just say they did everything together! Most stories about Dave start out “Dave and Rick” did this, or “Rick and Dave” did that. They were truly the best of friends, and inseparable.
Dave also loved and adored his younger brother Dylan. He always bragged about “Little D” and was so proud of him. Dave was always wanting to hang out and have fun. Whether it was teaching him how to blow bubbles with gum or how to sand-bag, picking a puppy, setting up wrestling matches or mini-stick hockey in the living room, pretending to let Dylan beat him in an arm-wrestle, or simply just playing catch, ping pong, or street hockey. Dave also taught Dylan many other things like how to use a magnifying glass to burn things, or how to create “fire-bombs”, and not to mention his sometimes-inappropriate sense of humor just to name a few. The memories of growing up with Dave as an older brother are one-of-a-kind and will be forever cherished. Just like the black-eye he gave Dylan when he said he wouldn't raise the ball in a game of street-hockey.
Dylan recently reminded us of how we all loved the way Dave was so swayable in debates… he would always agree with everyone! He always had your back… until he had the other person's back… before he had your back again!
Dave loved animals. He loved the beauty of wild animals and he loved the innocence of his beloved pets. He loved the creepy-crawlies, and he even loved the reptiles that only a mother could - snakes. Dave also adored everybody's cats and dogs and they loved him back! Speaking of cats, some may say that Dave had 9 lives himself, here are some of his close calls.
While solo climbing at Gunton without a rope, Dave took a long fall from the top of the most difficult route there, and fell roughly 30 feet and shattered his heel/ankle.
Totalled his minivan in a head on collision, which was not his fault.
Rolled another van on the way to the cliffs in a snowstorm on Mother’s Day.
Shattered his wrist while skateboarding, twice
A lift of roof trusses fell onto Dave and flattened him face down into the floor, leaving him unconscious with a broken nose.
Was cutting off a balcony at work - however he was standing ON the balcony when he made the final cut! Luckily, he noticed JUST in a knick of time.
Ripped his ear in half, and clotheslined his sister in law Serena while riding Dans quad under a low branch… he did tell her to duck.
He also enjoyed the simple things in life. Dave was the least materialistic person you would meet. He didn’t waste time on the latest gadgets, trends, vehicles, toys or name brands, the hustle and bustle of what most people would consider “normal” life nowadays. Anything he did buy was "cash on the barrel". He enjoyed family and friends, and making them laugh. With what little he had, he would always give. Many of you probably have a gemstone that Dave gave you to hold onto for its magical properties. Dave was the most generous and “giving the shirt off your back” is an understatement when talking about Dave. He treasured the gifts that he received, but everything else he would rather give away to someone special.
He loved art, and was amazing at it - any kind of it, his sketchbooks are full of doodles that you might see in a tattoo shop. He was very imaginative and creative. He started a small business with his brother Rick in high school, designing posters and t-shirts called Mr. Twister, and another in his climbing days called High and Hard Climbing, Dave designed all the logos. One of them he had tattooed on his left arm to balance out the one on his right arm of his dad's signature.
Around the turn of the century Dave met the love of his life - Safron Marivalles. He adored her from the start and was proud to develop his love for cooking with her- they chopped everything together. Safron only recently found out that Dave kept an old highschool picture of her around in his wallet for 20+ years.
Dave and Safron lived in and around Winnipeg for most of those years until about a year and a half ago, when they moved to his father in laws farm near Rivers, Manitoba. They wanted to leave the city or "shitty" as Dave called it for years, and thankfully Dave and Safron made this dream a reality.
Dave became an avid gardener shortly before moving to the farm, maybe that helped inspire the move along with ‘Little House on the Prairie’, his favorite t.v. show. His Grandma Hofer would be proud. He loved working around the farm homesteading, spending his time beekeeping, gardening, taking care of the chickens, wine making, tinkering, building, repairing, and working on countless art projects. He was in the middle of transforming a pair of silo's into a super cool custom home. He was proud to be making it out of nearly 100% repurposed material, and making it a truly unique place to call their own.
Dave was planning on returning to Winnipeg post-harvest to spend some time with his Mom, who he adored, they were best of friends and would do anything for each other.. He also looked forward to visiting family and friends that he missed very much. Dave had a way of filling a room with light and laughter. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him and he was proud of you all.
We would like to conclude this little biography of Dave with a saying we found in his sketchbooks, written numerous times.
“Dream it, Believe it, Do it.”
and that he did.
Thanks for everything Dave. You will be loved forever and always remembered.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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