Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 23, 2013

Neighbor remembers Colleen Ritzer as pleasant, happy

Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

ANDOVER —

Colleen Ritzer is being remembered today as a pleasant and happy girl who loved children and always wanted to be a math teacher.

Ritzer talked a lot about being a teacher while at Andover High School, next-door neighbor Mary Duffy of 7 Dascomb Road said.

"She loved doing it," Duffy said.

Duffy said Ritzer had lived on Dascomb Road, on the corner of Blood Road, all her life. She has two younger siblings, a brother and sister, both in the Andover schools.

"She was a quiet, unassuming girl with a beautiful smile," she said. "She was a lovely child."

Duffy said she was overcome with sobbing when she heard the news. The Ritzers had lived on Dascomb Road for about 25 years. She said the family was close and known for coming together.

"I love the family and they have a beautiful family," Duffy said. "If every family throughout America was like that, there would be no trouble. It would be a utopia."

When asked for her reaction to the news, she said, "In this day and age, it's not surprising, but it is shocking because I knew her and I'm devastated by the loss."

People were arriving at the Ritzers' two-story, gray house with blue shutters all morning, with about a dozen cars, including some from Vermont and New Hampshire, there at mid-day.

Pastor Peter Gori of St. Augustine's Parish in Andover was seen arriving at the Ritzers' house shortly after noon.

Former Andover Selectman Ted Teichert, who said he went to high school with Ritzer's mother, stopped by to pay his condolences.

"It's sad news," he said. "I'm praying for the family."