Shirley Ritchie, longtime teacher education instructor, dies

Published 1:34 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

Catawba College

Dr. Shirley Peeler Ritchie of Salisbury, a 1952 Catawba alumna and former teacher education faculty member who also served on the College Board of Trustees, passed away Thursday.

Ritchie served on the Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2014 and served in the role as secretary to the Board for several years. Her colleagues on the Board honored her with Trustee Emerita status after she stepped down from regular service.

Her family’s history with the College dates back to the 1920s when her mother, the late Lillian Caldwell Peeler, attended Old Catawba in Newton and was a member of the Class of 1926. Her father, the late Clifford Peeler, served for many years on Catawba’s Board of Trustees. He was a successful businessman who parlayed locally made Cheerwine into a booming family business and large Salisbury employer.

Ritchie double-majored in religion and philosophy and sociology at Catawba and later earned her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ritchie met husband Raymond, a football player and a member of the Class of 1953, while both were students at Catawba. After the two married, they settled in Salisbury to raise their family, and were parents of two sons and a daughter.

During her career, Ritchie worked as a social worker, a school counselor in the Salisbury City Schools, and as an instructor and program director for Early Childhood Gifted Project at UNC Charlotte. She joined the faculty of Catawba in 1981, and served the institution as a professor of education until her retirement in 1993.

While on the faculty at Catawba, she received both the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching and the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award.

Catawba has honored her with its O.B. Michael Award, the Distinguished Alumna Award, and an honorary doctorate.

She was honored by Catawba in 2007 when it named the Shirley Peeler Ritchie Academy for Teaching for her. She and husband Raymond were jointly honored as recipients of Catawba’s Adrian Shuford, Jr. Award for Distinguished Service in 2010.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Visitation: Sunday, November 22, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church (200 W Innes St) in the Peeler Chapel building; Funeral: Monday, November 23 at 2:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

If you would like to pay respects and sign the register, you may do so at Summersett Funeral Home (1315 W Innes St) on Saturday, November 21 between 12 noon and 5 p.m., or Sunday, November 22 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.