From California via Nebraska, Michigan, and Ohio, they came. From Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana too. From age 93 (representing the generation whose uncle became Cardinal), to two babes in arms, they came to the home, and gathered in the very room where Elmer Joseph Ritter was born.

Why?  Because Elmer grew up and eventually became the only priest born in Indiana to become a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church – Joseph E. Cardinal Ritter (born July 20, 1892 in New Albany, Indiana and died June 10, 1967, St. Louis, Missouri). THAT’S WHY!!

The New Albany Daily Ledger, 07-25-1892, p3c2 reported his birth:
 “Born to the wife of Mr. and Mrs Nicholas Ritter, East Oak Street, a twelve pound son.”

There were quite a few years between Elmer’s birth and his becoming a Cardinal of the Church. He attended St. Mary’s parish school and then St. Meinrad Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1917 and as Auxiliary Bishop in 1933. As Bishop of Indianapolis (1934), he became Archbishop of Indianapolis in 1944. In 1946 he became Archbishop of St. Louis in 1946, and ultimately a member of the College of Cardinals in 1961.

To celebrate their relationship to the lad who lived above his father’s bakery, and who planted the seeds of desegregation in America 10+ years before the Supreme Court’s now-famous Brown verses Topeka Board of Education decision in 1953 and 20+ years before the Civil Rights Act of 1963.

That is the reason they came!

Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation archivist speaking to the reunion attendees. To the left is David Hock, the Foundation’s vice-chair, about to welcome the Ritter family to the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace.


Sculptor Guy Tedesco tells the Ritter family about a future bronze monument honoring the Cardinal.


Mary Ritter Scales, grand-niece of the Cardinal, in the serving line for lunch in the Neighborhood Resource Center at the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace.


Lunch is served! Many of the attendees had not seen one another for many years.


Enjoying lunch and family!


The only thing that silenced these Ritter family members was – – – LUNCH.


This couple, from Napa, CA, drove first to Omaha for their son’s graduation from medical school., then to New Albany, Here they chat with sculptor Guy Tedesco.


Foundation vice-chair David Hock listens attentively to Joseph Elmer Ritter II., grand-nephew of the Cardinal.


Ray Ritter, grand-nephew of the Cardinal in conversaton with Foundation board member John Blocker (attached to the errant hand at left).


Mary Ritter Scales, grand-niece of the Cardinal with Ray Day, the Foundation’s historian and archivist. They are pictured in the Ritter Museum Birth Room. Photos of the Cardinal’s parents, Bertha and Nicholas, are featured in the background. They were given to the Foundation by Gertrude “Trudy” Ritter, the wife of the Cardinal’s deceased nephew Frank Ritter.


The Ritter family will long remember this day in New Albany, Indiana. In the background painting of then Auxiliary Bishop Ritter  he appears to spread his blessing over his family.. Congratulations to Trudy Ritter (seated in red dress) and Mary Ritter Scales (seated the the left of Trudy) for co-organizing the gathering.