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Road designation honors late councilman

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Jim Ritter, the longtime Huntington City Councilman who died in May 2012, was honored Friday by renaming Auburn Road for him.

Jim Ritter Road is a small tribute for a man who meant so much to the Westmoreland community, said Joyce Clark, who knew Ritter for more than 40 years and succeeded him on City Council.

"There was such a high regard for him. That's why we wanted his name on that sign," Clark said. "So it would be a lasting tribute for Westmoreland."

Ritter, 67, served almost 20 years on City Council during two separate stints. He served three consecutive terms as the District 1 councilman from 1989-2000. After having to step away because of term limits, he was reappointed to the same district seat in 2003 and was elected to two more terms in 2004 and 2008.

The afternoon ceremony was attended by about four dozen friends, relatives and fellow council members and city officials. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams read a proclamation honoring Ritter, while wrapping his right arm around his widow, Norma Jean. He then led her to the sign, where she pulled down the cover to reveal "Jim Ritter Road."

"It just means everything," Norma Jean Ritter said. "Jimmy loved Westmoreland. It means everything that they still remember Jimmy."

The family grew up on Auburn Road, where she still lives. She said there will likely be tears every time she turns onto the street and sees the sign. But, she said, they'll be good tears.

Both of his sons, Todd and Chad, also attended and expressed gratitude for the city recognizing their dad.

"Dad did so much ... and you see all these people who still care," Chad Ritter said. "He was a friend to everyone."

A dinner was held at the Westmoreland Woman's Club following the ceremony.

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