The Italian American community of Trumbull County, OH has lost a dear and remarkable member. Edith née D’Altorio Ritch passed away on January 6 of this year. She left a rich archive of family history, wonderful crafts and a love for the Italian American experience, which she shared with many in the area. Edith also distinguished herself as a committee member of the Warren Italian American Heritage Festival and contributed many hours to the organization. We send our condolences to Carl, her husband and partner in volunteer work.
Edith graduated from Warren G. Harding High School and worked at Thomas Steel and then at Trumbull County Joint Vocational School. Over the course of her life, she attended Mass at St. Pius X Parish and at St. Vincent De Paul’s, now merged with St. Thomas the Apostle, Vienna, where the couple worked in parish ministries.
The goal of passing down food and other traditions figured largely in her activities. To this end, Edith and Carl revived palm braiding for many in the Mahoning Valley. Moreover, they gifted some of the most intricate examples of their art to St. Thomas parish. For years, Palm Sunday found the couple’s creations adding to the beauty of that solemn day. Edith and Carl also taught a class in the craft.
In 2015, Edith completed a lengthy family history project in which she catalogued the immigration documents of several relatives. That same year, she contributed the rich archive of historical photos of the D’Altorio and Ritch (Ricchiuti) families for publication in “Italian Americans of the Mahoning Valley,” by authors Pallante and DeBlasio. As a daughter of immigrants from the Abruzzo towns of Rivisondoli and Roccaraso, Edith followed happenings in Italy.
For almost 20 years, Edith and her family have been avid readers of La Gazzetta Italiana. In fact, the many historical files and old recipes that Edith and her sister, Mary Masciangelo, collected and organized contributed to articles published by this newspaper. Edith once remarked, “Our immigrant parents never threw any papers away.” These documents and photos form a legacy for future generations. Surely, Edith’s active presence in the community will be missed.