Ann Whatley Ritchie of Mineral Wells, Texas, age 93, passed on Good Friday, April 7, 2023. She died gracefully of natural causes surrounded by loved ones.
A lifetime Mineral Wells resident, Ann is the daughter of the late Emma Mann (Marsh) Whatley and Russell Aubrey Whatley., Sr. Ann was born on November 27, 1929 in Mineral Wells—almost a decade after her older brother and close friend, the late Russell Whatley, Jr.
Everyone who knew Ann can attest to her sharp wit and independent spirit. Ann was an active student at Mineral Wells High School. There, she was a founder and officer of the social club, Tri-Y, plus a member of the band from 1945-1947, and part of the Burro staff from 1946-47. Ann was named Who’s Who of MWHS in 1945.
Ann attended Texas Christian University after graduation, where she became a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She then transferred to the University of Texas at Austin and married John Preston Ritchie in Mineral Wells on December 31, 1949. Thereafter, Ann’s early years of marriage found her excelling as a supportive wife of a Naval aviator flying the first jets that maneuvered off of U.S. aircraft carriers.
Once their Navy commitment ended, Ann moved back to Austin while John attended the University of Texas School of Law. There, she gave birth to their daughter, Anne Lynn, on October 24, 1951. Following law school, John began his legal career in Fort Worth, Texas, and Ann gave birth to Richard Preston on May 2, 1955. She and John became early members of both the Fort Worth Boat Club and Rivercrest Country Club.
After the couple returned home to Mineral Wells, Texas, Ann actively engaged in civic life, becoming a charter member of the Mineral Wells Women’s Club and participating in the Junior History Club and the Mineral Wells Garden Club. As an avid genealogist, Ann was also a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution—Ralph Ripley Chapter, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas—George W. Slaughter Chapter. She and John enjoyed entertaining friends and flying with the Commemorative Air Force.
Ann is survived by her daughter Anne Lynn (Ritchie) Street, son Richard Preston Ritchie, and nephew Russell Aubrey Whatley, III, of Mineral Wells, Texas. She is also dearly loved by her children’s spouses, Penny Ritchie and Tony M. Street. Ann will be sorely missed by her four granddaughters and their spouses, Reagan Michelle (Street) and Aaron Sisk, Shelby Dawn (Street) and Koby Rogers, Leslie Kay (Ritchie) and Kevin Robnett and Lacie Lane (Ritchie) and Matthew Austin. The great-grandchildren who are certain to enjoy colorful stories of Ann’s spirit include Street Hardin Rogers, Elisha Ritchie Robnett, Rush Preston Rogers, Cyrus Leo Robnett, Sky Lynn Austin, Arleigh Kay Robnett, Sydney Lane Austin, and Taack Aaron Sisk.
The family would like to thank the staff at Lakewell Place for providing such a loving and supporting environment for their parents over the past several years. A public graveside service will be held for Ann at Woodland Park Cemetery at 3600 S Oak Ave, Mineral Wells, TX 76067 on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her honor to the Brazos Foundation, P.O. Box 901, Mineral Wells, Texas 76068, or the Mineral Wells Women’s Club, 201 NE 2nd St, Mineral Wells, TX 76067.