Joel Keith Ritchie, 37, died Saturday, October 1st, at the Toronto General Hospital.
Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Joel left a legacy behind that is unlike any other. It would take an entire newspaper to list his achievements & community connections, as Joel was the first person to lend a hand, lead a group, and put a smile on your face.
Joel had a lifelong love of sports. As a teenager, Joel was proud to play for the Hillcrest football team. He loved to share stories about his days on the field. It’s safe to say that hockey was one of Joel’s first loves. Joel began playing hockey with the Current River Mighty Mites and continued to Nor-West & Thunder Bay Minor. His passion continued as he played Rec hockey year-round as an adult. The annual Hicks VS Slicks games were something he looked forward to participating in with his friends each year. Joel was so proud to share his love of hockey with the players he coached and their families during the many years he was involved with the West End Bruins Midget A and Midget AA teams, as well as Nor-west & the Fort William Hurricanes. What made this experience extra meaningful was coaching alongside his dad, Keith. He was proudly residing as West End’s president when he passed. If you knew Joel, you know he was a lifelong fan of the Leafs. He looked forward to travelling to watch them play with his friends whenever he was able.
Joel accomplished many things throughout his short life. He reminded you of his earlier accomplishments from time to time, such as being the president of Hillcrest High School and being the first student to get cable in the Student Counsel office. He met the love of his life Danielle, his Danni, in 2006 and together they built a beautiful family including Lexi & Addi and their dogs Cleo and Eloise. Last October, Joel completed one of his biggest accomplishments, and a goal of his and Danielle’s for many years, as they moved into their dream home. Building this house for Danni and the girls is one of the greatest gifts Joel could have given them before his life was taken far too soon. Joel was lucky to have a job that he was truly passionate about. As a part-owner of Service Master, Joel got to blend his passion for helping people with his skills for negotiating and solving any problem. His wife and children lovingly referred to him as ‘The Service Master’.
Joel truly had a passion for helping others in any way he could and enjoyed volunteering his time to many organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Shelter House. He enjoyed participating in various fundraisers throughout the years. Although it was many years ago, participating in the Dragon boat races alongside his brother and close friends held a special place in his heart.
Joel’s favourite titles were Daddy and husband. His family was his whole world. He was the most incredible father and loved taking his girls on adventures all over the city. Their favourite adventure was sneaking new Star Wars toys into the house without Mama noticing. Joel and Danielle loved hiking to the Sea Lion each year and continued this tradition with their girls. He loved to bring Alexys & Adeline up to the cliff and tell them about asking their Mama to marry him. Joel was looking forward to bringing the girls to Hawaii to show them the magical place he and Danielle spent their honeymoon. Sadly, he didn’t get this opportunity.
Joel is survived by his wife of 9 years, Danielle, children, Alexys, and Adeline, his parents Keith and Heather, siblings, Geoff (Cynthia, Isaiah, Mya, Ava), Melissa (Joe, Ashlyn, Brodie), and Stacie, as well as numerous friends and colleagues.
Joel is predeceased by his grandparents, Hilliard & Mavis Hyndman, George & Elsie Ritchie, his aunt, Susan Hyndman, and his beloved Bobcat.
His celebration of life will be held at the Da Vinci Centre on Monday, October 17, from 1-4 pm. Words of tribute will be delivered at 2pm. The family is in the process of setting up a trust for his children, Alexys and Adeline. Please stay tuned for announcements from the funeral home, for how to contribute. Online condolences may be expressed at www.sargentandson.com.
The whole world grieves, this day. Joel, you are so loved