Ruth Ann Ritzema, 55, transitioned peacefully while surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
Ruth was born in 1963 in Portsmouth, Virginia, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. As a teenager she loved playing basketball, painting, playing piano, and skydiving. She received a basketball scholarship to the University of Michigan, where she was also a member of U.S. Army ROTC, and graduated with a double major in History and Political Science.
In 1994, Ruth became a mother to Cristina Marie. In 2005 she married the love of her life, Michael Weiss, and was blessed to have his children, Jamie and Sam became a part of her family. In 2011, they brought home from Russia their beloved son, Ryan Cristopher. Ruth was loved, admired, and respected by all who knew her. In her personal life, what made her happiest was creating a home filled with love, appreciating beautiful works of art, working in her garden, and traveling the world with her family. Always a scholar, she continued her education and attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Public Policy Program for Senior Executive Fellows as well as earning her Master of Public Administration, Inspection and Oversight with outstanding academic honors at John Jay College, City University of New York.
In 1986, Ruth began her professional career as a Federal Agent, working for the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division in Miami, FL and then in Salt Lake City, UT. She relocated to New Jersey and became the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York. She was subsequently promoted to the following positions: Special Agent in Charge, NY; Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Washington DC; and ultimately retired as the Assistant Inspector General for Investigations establishing her as the highest ranking female Federal Law Enforcement Officer in the United States. After 25 years of service for the federal government, Ruth retired and began working in the private sector for Ernst and Young and finally as Vice President of Corporate Security for ADP.
On September 11, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center, Ruth performed duties which earned her the HUD Secretary’s Award for Valor for her actions.
Predeceased by her first husband John, her daughter Cristina Marie and her father, Michael Daniels, Ruth leaves behind her husband Michael, their children Ryan, Jamie and Sam; her nieces Lauren and Areielle Blandy, to whom she was like a second mother; her mother, Paola Colombini and her husband Lou Ottolini; her sister Gigi Colombini and her husband Jeff Gabrielson; her brother Robinson Colombini and his wife Patty; her sister Michelle Montgomery, and her sister Alexi Rosas and her husband Rodrigo; her Zia (Aunt) Rosa Colombini, as well as many other nieces, nephews, and a great nephew.
Cremation was private. A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Nativity of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church in Monroe Township on Saturday at 10:30 AM under the direction of Spotswood Funeral Home.
So that he can always know the stories of his mom, all are invited to leave a special memory for Ryan to cherish throughout his life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The family has requested that no flowers be sent, however, donations honoring Ruth's memory may be made to Special Strides (www.specialstrides.com), the Therapeutic Riding Center for Special Needs Kids, where her daughter Cristina had many joyful experiences.