Barbara “Barb” Ritz, 84, of Indianapolis and formerly of Madison, Indiana, died Tuesday June 7, 2022, at Salona Traditions assisted living facility there.
She was born in Cincinnati on Sept. 16, 1937, and moved with her family to a farm in Elrod, Indiana, in 1947, where she finished her elementary schooling in a one room schoolhouse. She married Harold O’Neal and they moved to Versailles, Indiana, with their six children in 1960. After divorcing she was a single mother of six under the age of 8. She married Ronald Irwin and moved to Madison in 1966 where she became active in Hebron Baptist Church and PTA while her children were in school. She returned to school herself and earned a GED as valedictorian of her class. Divorced again in 1972, she worked two jobs — one with Servomation of Madison and the other as manager of various local bars and restaurants — while her children finished high school and three went to college. Her home in Madison was a “safe haven” for many of the youth in the area. After her youngest child graduated in 1978 she moved to Indianapolis to work with the State Department of Commerce, Tourism Division as a local community coordinator. She later transferred to the State Auditor’s office where she was responsible for payroll at two of the state’s largest departments until retiring in 1998. She also worked with the Indiana Repertory theater as food and beverage manager and was active with St Luke’s Methodist church where she became a Saint Stephen lay minister. She married Keith Ritz in 1999 and they moved to Richmond, Indiana, and then to Belhaven, North Carolina, where they owned a pest control company. After his death in 2006 she ran the company with his son and was active in the Smithton Baptist Church where she headed a large playground development project. She returned to Indianapolis in 2019 for health reasons and, as a cancer survivor, was an advocate for the Community Health Networks and Oncology Patients Assistance fund. Her final move was to the assisted living facility at Solana Traditions.
Survivors include five children, Dennis O’Neal of Dupont Indiana, Marty Irwin of Indianapolis, Richard Irwin of Plainfield, Indiana, LuAnn Wonnberg of Indio, California and Stuart O’Neal of Dripping Springs, Texas; and 13 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren
She was preceded in death by her parents; her third husband; and a son, Steven J. O’Neal of Madison on July 4, 2014.
Memorial contributions may be made to support Community Health Network’s oncology patient assistance fund, c/o Community Health Network Foundation, 7330 Shadeland Station, Indianapolis, IN 46256 or visit ecommunity.com/community-foundation.
Arrangements entrusted to Flanner Buchanan Funeral Home in Indianapolis.
Online condolences, www.flannerbuchanan.com.