October 31, 2014

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Former Lorain councilman Fred Ritenauer dies at 58

Fred Ritenauer

Fred Ritenauer

LORAIN — Fred J. Ritenauer, a former city councilman, son of former councilman and County Commissioner Fred M. Ritenauer and uncle of Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer, died Tuesday.

The 58-year-old Ritenauer died of a heart attack, Mayor Ritenauer said. Ritenauer, a husband and father of two, was president of Rite-Nau Inc., the family’s beverage store chain. The family sold it a few years ago.

Ritenauer also was Emerald Valley Country Club general manager, a job he started around 1988. Formerly a nine-hole golf course, the club now is a bar, banquet hall and driving range.

Mayor Ritenauer said his uncle’s political interests were motivated by the elder Ritenauer, who was a Democratic councilman from 1960 to 1968 and county commissioner from 1968 to 1984.

The younger Ritenauer, a Democrat, was appointed as an 8th Ward councilman in 1983. The ward includes parts of Beavercrest Drive as well as Kolbe, Jaeger and Oakpoint roads on the west side. Ritenauer ran unopposed in 1983 and 1985 before being defeated in 1987.

Ritenauer told The Chronicle-Telegram in 1985 that his main focus was providing service to his constituents and to do everything possible “to bring Lorain back to the vibrant community it once was and secure a future for their children.”

Mayor Ritenauer said his uncle was supportive of his mayoral campaigns, hosting events at Emerald Valley and occasionally discussing politics. “He was always very good at listening and understanding the process and the difficulty of doing the job,” Ritenauer said.

Scott Ritenauer, 56, said his brother, who married in 1992, was a good family man. Scott Ritenauer described his brother as generous and outgoing. Ritenauer said his brother held an annual It’s a Wonderful Life Christmas party at Emerald Valley where the classic Frank Capra-directed movie starring James Stewart was shown.

“If I were to title his life, that’s what it would be,” Scott Ritenauer said. “He made it that way.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 oregoodenow@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter at @egoodenowct.