Whooola! (that was one of Ritchie’s favorite things to say), not to mention he would ring your doorbell a few times to announce his arrival. Ritchie wasn’t a veteran, but boy was he a soldier. No matter how hard it got over the final months of his life, like a tough soldier he fought, and fought hard.
Ritchie blessed the Thomas and Peters clan when he screamed his first screams into this world on February 9th, 1969. Ritchie was the 2nd youngest, born to the late June Thomas-Lumbert and Leonard Peters.
Ritchie’s two older siblings, Mike and Carol, as well as his three younger siblings who lived with him, Brian, Brandon, and Guy (now deceased), all grew up with Ritchie and saw how unique he could be.
In the summers, you could find Ritchie with his siblings down near the Stommish Grounds at the late Auntie Edith and Uncle Vic’s property. He, along with boys and girls from the Finkbonner, Toby, Jones, and Scott families would goof around and play sports while his late mother June, who was a single mother, Auntie Della, and the ladies would get together and enjoy time together.
Just like his late-dad, Ritchie loved sports. It didn’t matter what sport he played, his competitive nature always made things interesting. Whether he made a play on the tennis or pickleball court, scored the highest in Yahtzee, beat you at chess, or took your money as a table games dealer, Ritchie had that wiley smile on his face. His big eyes and whistle as if to say …. “Damn I’m good.”
Oh, and don’t try to bet against the Atlanta Falcons, even if your team wears blue and green. Sure, the Seahawks were his second favorite team, but when they played head-to-head, it was HOT-lanta every time for Ritchie.
His favorite people in this world are his large family and his prized treasure wasn’t his coin collection—what made him so wealthy was his beautiful kids and grandchildren. As Ritchie’s health began to fade, he worried most about them. Many of us believe that Ritchie held on as long as he could for them.
His son Optimus Prime remembers how his dad would give him a taste of his drink and Optimus would drink the whole thing, so Ritchie called him his brat. Ritchie in his humorous way liked to annoy you so he would tug at your shoulder sleeve or snap his fingers to get your attention and show you the OK sign. If you saw it, he got to punch you on the shoulder.
Being a part of a team was another theme in Ritchie’s life. Whether he was a part of a historic hardball baseball team that helped bring a championship to Lummi as a teenager or more recently helping his billiards team win a trophy, there was Ritchie–you could always depend on him to help the team win.
Ritchie was a simple person who enjoyed the most simple things in life, whether it was finding enjoyment in watching TV shows like The Deadliest Catch, Forged in Fire, or Finding Bigfoot, or watching WWF and WWE, especially each year’s Wrestlemania, which Ritchie felt was paying respect to his late baby brother Guy who loved to watch wrestling too. Ritchie recently shared Facebook images of antique classic cars and would sometimes text Carol a picture for her to show her husband Jim. Yup, Ritchie was amazed in the most basic things of life.
In the last few years of his life, Ritchie found peace in his many walk-abouts, taking a full afternoon for a nice walk—to think about things and to help improve his breathing. Pauline, his girlfriend remembers many times walking at his favorite place, the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park. She also remembers the many times he would accompany her to many places to find high-quality beads or the many times they casino hopped.
Many would say a nice vacation would be to go to Europe, Hawaii, or Disneyland. Ritchie? Just before he passed away on July 17th, he wanted to take a vacation to the Oregon Coast. That was Ritchie. Nothing flashy, nothing fancy, just nice and easy. That was Ritchie, a very nice and easy-going person—someone so many people loved to be around.
The large Thomas family—as loving and as tight-knit as they are, know how hard this has been for them. No one in this family is replaceable and it will be very hard not to see Ritchie at the family gatherings or having someone laughing at you when he beat you.
We’ll miss our Magoo, Our Sukka, Our Sukka Fish, our LaBamba, Ritchie Rich, Carnal, Ritchie Bird. The faith this family has believes that he’s in a better place, no more suffering, no more sorrow. We love you Ritchie, may God rest your soul.
Ritchie was preceded in death by his mother June Thomas-Lumbert; father, Leonard H. Peters; brother, Garry “Guy” Lumbert; his grandparents, Leonard and Florie Peters, and Theresa Hillaire-Thomas and Earl Thomas Sr.
Ritchie is survived by his children, Ritchie Optimus Prime, Lexi, Desmond, Deseri (Des-er-ay) and Keisha; his grandkids, Meleena, Henry, Sharina, A-kesha, Robert and Mary Lynn; his girlfriend Pauline Smith; siblings, Michael Peters, Carol (Jim) Veale, Brian (Verna) Peters, Brandon Lumbert, James Sen, and Bruce Bogart; and numerous aunties and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Wednesday 7/21 – 11AM procession from Moles Ferndale to Wexliem. 6PM prayer service at Wexliem.
Thursday 7/22 – 10AM Funeral Mass at Wexliem. Burial to follow at Lummi.