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Jeffrey Ritsert

May 9, 1992 August 24, 2017
Jeffrey Ritsert
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Obituary for Jeffrey Ritsert

Jeffrey Ritsert – A too-short life of kindness and laughter

Jeffrey Ritsert was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on May 9, 1992. He attended Grace Lutheran School in River Forest, demonstrating during his years there an amazing aptitude for door-to-door sales during the annual Cub Scout popcorn drives. He graduated in 2010 from Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, where he excelled in musical theater and ignoring homework. During high school he also sang with the Madrigal Choir of Grace Episcopal Church, loving the music and the friends he made there.

Jeff attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. A true comfort-seeker, Jeff placed cheap flip-flops under bushes all over campus so that he could go barefoot as much as possible, snagging a pair only when he was required to go indoors for class or meals. In 2014, Jeff and good friends from Knox College moved to a shared home in Redmond, Washington, where they produced a monthly-or-so podcast on gaming ( and were selected to present at the 2017 Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. Jeff worked as a waiter at a British pub and took classes at Bellevue College. Across the years, in both Oak Park and Redmond, family, friends, and coworkers were regularly traumatized by Jeff’s cheerful, never-ending, and atrociously unsuccessful quest to perfect an English accent.

How can a few words sum up a life? Jeff was full of laughter and kindness. He was smart and funny and game for any adventure. But the depression he fought from childhood on eventually became more than he could bear, and in the early hours of August 24, 2017, Jeff took his own life. Those of us who knew and loved him are left with emptiness and pain. At the same time, we are grateful for the wonderful memories we have of Jeff and thankful that he is no longer suffering. Rest in peace, Jeffrey. The kindness that flowed from your gentle heart truly changed the lives of those who knew you.

Jeff is survived by his parents, Larry Ritsert and Elaine Pierce, and his sister, Trinity Pierce, all residents of Oak Park.

A memorial service will be held for Jeff on Saturday, October 7, at 2pm at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to your favorite charity or to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( or 1-888-333-AFSP, rated 90/100 by Charity Navigator).

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




2:00 PM 10/7/2017 2:00:00 PM
First United Church of Oak Park

848 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60301

First United Church of Oak Park
848 Lake St. Oak Park 60301 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

199 Water Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10038

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