Another group of friends, her college roommates, offered a different perspective of Ritzer.
One of them, Caroline Rufo, described their junior and senior year dorm room as “such an uplifting place to live.”
“Our room was decorated with inspirational quotes everywhere,” she said. “Colleen loved the holidays, and our rooms were always decorated with holiday decorations — no matter what.”
The girl who would dance to holiday music she continuously played also had nicknames for each girl, as well as a soft spot for yoga pants, according to Rufo.
“She loved yoga pants, and would always be like, ‘yoga pants are heaven on your legs,’” she said.
Even after the girls parted ways at commencement in 2011, celebration of the holidays continued on up to this year with Colleen Ritzer.
“She always had a way to reach out with holiday cards, letters when we lost contact,” Natalie Geeza said.
Because Ritzer held such a large place in their lives, Rufo stumbled over her words when describing what comes next.
“Extreme loss,” she said. “There’s going to be a void forever in our hearts. I don’t know that anything can refill that.”
Many, including Berger, spoke about how Ritzer had always wanted to become a teacher.
“In our fifth-grade yearbook, when it says what do you want to be when you grow up, she said ‘teacher,’” Berger remembered. “She loved her job — loved it.”
Ritzer’s Dascomb Road neighbor, Mary Duffy, recalled Ritzer’s inner and outer beauty.
“She was a quiet, unassuming girl with a beautiful smile,” she said. “She was a lovely child.”
Duffy said Ritzer was a reflection of her close-knit family.
“I love the family — 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.”