Obituary: Susan Ritchie, NNEP

Susan Ritchie, one of the co-founders of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP) (asi/187622), died in her sleep Aug. 28, after a three-year struggle with cancer. She was 81. The Stow, OH, woman is survived by her husband of 59 years, Arch; children Kevin, Bruce, Jennifer Cox and Barbara Bebinger; and nine grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother William A. Williams and sister Barbara Thomas.

A graduate of Ohio State University, Ritchie later received master’s degrees from Kent State University and the University of Colorado. She worked as a registered licensed occupational therapist, taught family studies at Kent State and then served as the director of rehabilitation at Edwin Shaw Hospital. In the late 1980s, Ritchie switched careers, purchasing the Ball and Skein, a needle arts boutique in Hudson, OH. She spent the next 25 years growing the shop into a successful retail commercial embroidery business.

In 1996, Ritchie, along with her husband and daughter Jennifer Cox, created the NNEP to help support other embroidery and decorated-apparel professionals. With more than 1,850 members, the group boasts a robust professional development program and organizes the Embroidery Mart trade show twice a year. The NNEP was regularly recognized in the Stitches Power 75 list. In a Facebook post on the NNEP page, Cox wrote of her mother: “She was an amazing lady, a terrific mom and an inspiring business partner. She will be greatly missed."

Ritchie will be honored at a memorial service 3 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent, 228 Gougler Ave., Kent, OH. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent.