R.J. "Tex" Ritter

July 25, 1936August 22, 2013
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At high noon on August 22, 2013, R.J. “Tex” Ritter, passed away while holding the hand of his loving wife of 56 yrs, Alice Mae Aupied Ritter, surrounded by his three devoted children, Nadine M. Ritter, R.J. Ritter, Jr., and B.J. Ritter, after only a few days’ illness. Friends, family and colleagues mourn his unexpected loss. He was born in 1936 in New Orleans, LA to John Alvin Ritter and Annette Marie Daigle Ritter. He had one brother (deceased), three half-brothers (one deceased), and six half-sisters (one deceased). His legacy will continue in his beloved grandchildren, Shaun Mikel Kalani Ritter, Brett Alan Alakai Ritter, William Random Ritter Ward, Ashley Brandon Rosenthal, Patton Daniel Ritter, James Geraden Ritter Ward, and Kenton Lesley Ritter, assisted by his son-in-law William J. Ward, and his two daughters-in-law, Sheri Lei Hayashi Ritter and Debra Rosenthal-Ritter.

Mr. Ritter led a very active professional life, starting with his enlistment in the Navy during the Korean War followed by a stint in the Coast Guard. As a radioman then a deep-sea diver, he worked with atomic weapon development projects including participation in the first underwater nuclear test, Operation WigWam on the USS TAWASA. During the 1960’s he was a volunteer in the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol while he trained as a marine engineer. He worked for decades with firms including Ingersoll-Rand, Sullair, and Grasso as a design engineer and technical expert. Many colorful stories abound of his wit and wisdom in the field, including an equipment repair made with a Coke bottle.

As a father, he became very involved in community service including the Lions Club and Little League Baseball. For over 10 yrs he was an LLB umpire at the senior and big league levels, tolerating many bruises on his elbows and shins from wild pitches by strong teens. Throughout his life, Mr. Ritter was an avid fisherman and hunter, prowling the Gulf Coast with his sport buddies for fur, fin and feathers. In the Navy, he held the #1 national position for marksmanship. His civilian sharp-shooting skills included on-the-fly assistance to less capable colleagues in bagging trophies that were getting away. He was a proud mentor to his kids and grandkids at the fishing hole and gun range; evidence indicated they inherited his eagle eye and skilled hands. His BBQ pit was a source of legends around the world.

After his military records became declassified, Mr. Ritter launched a second ‘career’ as a major advocate in the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV), ultimately becoming National Commander, the position he held until his death. He performed significant research into the history of US and international nuclear weapons development, independently producing the documentary “One-Thousand Suns”, which presents the complete story, including declassified images, of global atomic bomb testing. He was selected as the Atomic Veterans’ representative on the Veterans’ Advisory Board on (Radiation) Dose Reconstruction chartered by Congress. There, he passionately advocated for accuracy in the assessment of exposure for individuals involved in nuclear activities, and compensation for those affected by their atomic service.

At a time when most men start winding down their life’s activities, Mr. Ritter turned his enormous energies into serving as a dedicated expert and advocate for atomic veterans’ issues, becoming a nationally-recognized, highly respected figure. He was an active member of the American Legion (Post 490; 41 yrs), Veterans of Foreign Wars (Post 5619; life member), and the Loyal Order of Moose (Lodge 1721; 14 yrs). He was made an honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy (2001), as well as an official Kentucky Colonel (1981). As hallmark of his tireless engagements, he was a guest at breakfast in the White House with President George W. Bush for in a wreath-laying ceremony on Veteran’s Day, 2005.

Mr. Ritter was loved and admired by his family, respected and honored by his friends. He lived an extraordinarily large life, leaving us all with many colorful stories of his exploits and accomplishments. His children and grandchildren, by nature and by nurture, have inherited a great legacy by his example. To honor his dedication to the health and welfare of veterans, the family respectfully requests that donations be made in honor of R. J. Ritter, Sr. (“Tex”) to the Wounded Warrior Project of Houston ( We also welcome memorial comments about him on his Guest Book at Forest Park East, where you can see a photo show celebrating his life.


  • Visitation Saturday, August 31, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, August 31, 2013

R.J. "Tex" Ritter

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Charles Norris

October 13, 2013

I am deeply sorry to Cmdr. Ritter's family for their loss.
He was a very good friend and helped me in providing me with NAAV jackets and adding my Atomic Veterans website to his NAAV website.
He will be missed.
I placed his obituary on my Atomic Veterans website.
C.V.(Bud) Norris Atomic Veteran 1951-1954

Margaret a/k/a SAMI Farris

September 24, 2013

I worked with Tex in 1969 as secretary to Bob Keith at Holder's Equipment Company. Tex also was an umpire when both my boys played baseball in Houston and in Pasadena. We have kept in touch over these many years and even saw each other at Fitness Connection in Pasadena recently. I am so sorry that I was unaware of his passing and have missed the service and a visit with Alice and family.

Becky Miller

September 21, 2013

Our family first met Sarge at the NAAV convention in Las Vegas in the early 2000's. He welcomed us and kept in touch through emails and phone calls. Our Father, USAF Captain Jimmy P. Robinson was the one pilot lost during Operation Ivy, 1952. He was a cloud sampler flying an F-84G. We thank R.J. For his dedication to Atomic Veterans and his service to our country.
Our deepest condolences and God's blessing for his family and many friends. Sincerely, Becky Miller, Past Area Commander for Central Florida

Sheila Leahy

September 18, 2013

My husband and I enjoyed his company at the local Fitness Connection.
I'd talk a little politics with him, and he shared his diving experiences. So sorry to hear he has died. Our prayers are with you and his family.
Sheila Leahy & Jim Zenk

Eric Teulings

September 7, 2013

Tex, my Big Brother, it has been great pleasure to work with you,
you for Grasso Inc. Evansville, I for Royal Grasso in the Netherlands. We tried to confince clients in the US that our product
was the best they could purchase! Traveled all over the US. One Superball weekend Tex took me to Houston and since then I am part of the Ritter clan. Will miss you Big Brother!

Ken Shimabukuro

September 6, 2013

Gone but not forgotten!!!!! Thank you for your service to our country and the veterans.

Patrick McEnroe

September 5, 2013

Admiral Ritter will be missed by the Admirals of Nimitz Squadron and many more friends throughout Texas and the U.S. He was a gentleman and a Patriot. God Bless him and his family.

September 3, 2013

My deepest sympathy to your family and I am very saddened by your loss. Mr.Ritter's dedication to the Atomic Veterans has been appreciated more than you will ever realize. My father, also an atomic veteran, passed away in March this year, and he greatly respected and appreciated the work of Mr. Ritter. I find comfort in knowing that the atomic veterans have a special place together in heaven. Mr. Ritter was a very special person to so many people. Please be comforted by knowing how much of an impact he made on so many lives.

Pat McEnroe

August 31, 2013

ADM Ritter was a true gentleman and caring servant to all veterans and servicemen. We will miss him in the Chester W. Nimitz Squadron. He served his country and is with his God.

August 30, 2013

We were sorry to hear about your father's passing. Our thoughts and prayers of comfort are with you and your family. Liz and Courtenay Clifford