Edward Rittberg passed away Sunday, June 30th, at Hackensack University Medical Center. Despite a Herculean effort, at age 71, he succumbed to the first medical challenge he faced over the last 38 years that he was unable to defeat.
He graduated Emerson High School, Union City, and received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, and his graduate degrees from Montclair State University, NJ. He considered himself first and foremost a "teacher of children and young adults." His first two years in education were served in the Lodi School District and his last 28 years in the Secaucus School District, from which he retired in 1995. He taught physical education and history at Secaucus' Lincoln Jr. High School and the Secaucus Middle-Secondary School where he became the school's first Dean of Students in 1975. He served as the first Athletic Director and the first head football coach of the Secaucus Patriots. He founded the Patriot Booster Club in his living room following his first surgery in 1975. He later became vice principal at Secaucus High School, and then was named the first principal of the Secaucus Middle School in 1988 when it was created to address the specific needs of the 7th and 8th grade students. Following his retirement from the school district, he was elected to two terms on the Secaucus Board of Education, working with the trustees to complete expansions at both Huber Street School and Clarendon School during his six-year tenure.
Rittberg was an inductee of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame, the Emerson High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Secaucus High School Patriots Hall of Fame.
He was predeceased by his parents, Edward and Cecilia (Garrahy) Rittberg, and a sister, Barbara Yutz. He leaves to mourn his passing his wife of nearly 48 years, Louise (Agresta) Rittberg; his daughters Janice (Michael) Rittberg-Snuffer and Suzanne (Thomas) Zimmermann; a sister-in-law JoAnn (Philip) Verdina; a brother-in-law Robert Yutz; six grandchildren Steven (Amber), Janice and Sterlin Snuffer and Katie, Jill and Allie Zimmermann and two great-grandchildren, Cole and Kaiden Snuffer. He is also survived by a nephew, four nieces, three grand-nieces and a grand-nephew. He will be missed by many people whose friendships he treasured, as well as by many former students whose lives he touched over the years.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 from 4:00 - 8:00 pm at Mack Memorial Home, 1245 Paterson Plank Road, Secaucus, NJ. Family and friends will gather for a funeral mass on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 10:00 am at Immaculate Conception Church, Secaucus, NJ followed by interment at Fairview Cemetery, Fairview, NJ. Please send tributes and condolences to www.mackmemorialhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, NJ Metro Chapter, 1 Kalisa Way, Suite 205, Paramus, NJ 07652, or the American Brain Foundation, 201 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN, 55415, would be appreciated.