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Nancy Ritz (center) cel­e­brates her retirement with college staff and faculty after fin­ishing her last day of work at the college. Brooke Conrad | Col­legian.

Known among stu­dents, faculty, and college staff for her kindness, sense of humor, and enthu­siasm for Christian music, longtime campus cus­todian Nancy Ritz cel­e­brated her retirement last week after 18 years of service.

Ritz has worked in almost every building on campus during her time at the college. Around 30 college faculty and staff attended her retirement party on Friday in the Fowler Main­te­nance building, and many said they are sad to see her go.

“She was always willing to go the extra mile,” Pro­fessor of Spanish Carmen Wyatt-Hayes, who attended the party, said. “She would water my plants while I was away, and make us puppy chow. One time she made a CD of Christian songs for me … She’s very kind and warm, very much cared for her work and very much cared for people.”

The party, com­plete with cup­cakes, bal­loons, and a cel­e­bratory banner, was orga­nized by cus­todial super­visor Kelli Blaker, who was hired in 2000, the same year as Ritz. She said the two  of them have “been stuck at the hip ever since.”

“She’s a good lady,” Blaker said. “She cares about this place a lot.”

Pro­fessor of English Kelly Franklin added in an email that while Ritz was working in Delp, she “always spoiled us with baked goods, treats, and other snacks — espe­cially around finals week.

“She was always friendly and cheerful, and we chatted a few times as she was fin­ishing up her morning shift,” Franklin said. “She kept our facility and offices clean and inviting — which makes a huge dif­ference (in my opinion) to our own quality of work … We’re going to miss her for sure.”

Ritz was also known as a “ray of sun­shine” in McIntyre, where Ritz most recently worked, according to the dorm’s head res­ident assistant, junior Sara Garfinkle.  Sophomore and McIntyre res­ident assistant Lily Erickson agreed.

“She could fre­quently be found doing her work with her head­phones in, dancing to the music as she went,” she said in an email. “She always had such a great attitude about her work and took so much joy in it.”

Garfinkle said chatting with Nancy in the morning at the dorm was the best way to start her day.

“Her kind words stayed with me all day,” Garfinkle said in an email. “I am so grateful for her hard work, but also for her TV rec­om­men­da­tions! She has the best taste and I never would have found The Great British Baking Show without her.”

Ritz said her favorite part of her job was “the kids,” and she often brought snacks for dorm res­i­dents during finals week. Olds House Director Linda Gravel said she would bring little muffins and mini hot dogs with sauce for the girls in Olds. One time Ritz told dorm res­i­dents she would make them lasagna if half of them signed up for the annual Student Activ­ities Board “Color Run” — and she even par­tic­i­pated herself.

Ritz also made dorm work fun, according to McIntyre res­ident assistant Sabrie Dalton.

“Before the res­i­dents came back this year, Nancy helped the East RAs figure out how to pop out the windows and force them back in. Should have been rather annoying and dif­ficult work, but she made it much more fun.”

Another McIntyre res­ident assistant, sophomore Madison Rathbun, said Ritz was always smiling and would take a par­ticular interest in how she was doing if she seemed down. Ritz would also often keep her in the loop on Christian con­certs coming up in the area.

“I do remember one time she left me the cutest note,” Rathbun said. “It all started because I told her she could keep lis­tening to music she was lis­tening to when she came to clean my room once … we talked about a Crowder concert coming up, and she didn’t want to forget to tell me, so she fol­lowed up. I thought it was the sweetest thing.”  

Monica Adams, a McIntyre cus­todian who worked with Ritz on the East Side, said she used to walk with Ritz every day during the summer, recounting a day when they got lost on a Hayden Park trail and had to climb over a fence to get back.

“She makes me laugh,” Adams said. “She’s just goofy.”

Now that Ritz is retired, she says she plans to relax and travel to see her family in Ken­tucky and Ten­nessee. She’s from Michigan though and said she plans to stay in the area.

“I’m happy for her,” Mauck cus­todian Rublea Kast said. “It’s bit­ter­sweet.”