Laura Gaisford Ritcha


Our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend Laura Eleanor Gaisford Ritcha, 87, of American Fork, UT and Parker, AZ passed through the veil Friday morning, January 10, 2020 at the Southern Utah VA (Ivins, UT) due to complications of COPD.

She was born in American Fork, UT on February 24, 1932 to Charles and LaRue (Spratley) Gaisford. She married Hal William Ritcha on August 10, 1951 in San Francisco, CA.

As a young adult, she was a member of the Women’s Air Corps (WAC) for several years after WWII. She served at sevecral bases, the longest assignment at Ft. Lewis, Washington. This is where she met her husband, Hal William Ritcha. They made their home in Pasadena, CA area for a number of years and later moved to American Fork, Utah where they were both employed at the Tooele Army Depot. After retirement from the Army Depot, they enjoyed collecting and selling antiques. They loved traveling together and traveled extensively throughout Mexico and the Southwest US. They spent winters in Mexico and Phoenix with dear friends Bill and Dolores Lynch. They permanently relocated to Parker, AZ in the 1990’s to enjoy their retirement years.

She became a member of the Catholic Church as a young adult. Later in life she was a member of several organizations including the Red Hat Society, Women’s Business and Professional Organization of Parker, AZ. She was the secretary for the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary in Parker and managed their thrift store for several years. She was also a member of the Elks and Eagles Clubs.

She thoroughly enjoyed playing cards and gathering socially with her friends & family in Parker, AZ as well as at the VA in Ivins, UT where she became a resident in 2019. She was an avid reader and loved getting lost in her books, even into her last days. She had a great appreciation for her antiques and the finer things in life, but what she valued most was her family.

She cared for her own mother, LaRue, in her home in Parker, AZ for 3 years before LaRue passed away in 2003. In 2012, Laura took in a rescue puppy, Wall-E. She would say she saved him, but Wall-E also saved her by becoming her constant companion and friend.

She is survived by her children, Michael William (Mary) Ritcha of St. George, UT and Deborah (Tim) Kalkbrenner of Santa Clara, UT; her two grandchildren, Josh (Timber) Kalkbrenner and Elizabeth Kalkbrenner; and her 5 great-grandchildren: Olivia, Audrey, Makayla, Lola, and Emmett Kalkbrenner; and her sister Betty G. Spencer of SLC, UT.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Hal, her three children William, Sharon, and Elizabeth Ritcha; brother James Gaisford and sister Ruth Rothe Whitman.

The family wishes to express their appreciation to the Southern Utah VA facility in Ivins, UT. Mostly the nurses and CNA’s in the 700 and 800 halls.

Service’s to remember Laura will be held in Ivan’s, UT at the Southern Utah VA on Wednesday 11am, Jan.15th 2020 and in Orem, Utah at the Saint Francis Church on Saturday 11:30am Jan.18th 2020 and in Parker at the Elks Lodge on Monday 11am Jan.20, 2020.