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That’s So Doris!

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Doris Ritzi, October 23, 1922 - April 16, 2012

Doris Ritzi, October 23, 1922 – April 16, 2012

That’s So Doris! (In Memoriam)

As a young girl, she always longed for the American way of life she had learned of by secretly perusing magazines and brochures laying around her dad’s American automobile import business.

The glamour, the fascinating people, the vast beaches, the ocean, the beautiful weather and the beautiful cars.

Nothing would stop her – the girl from Amriswil, the small village in the Canton of Thurgau – from making it across the pond and experiencing this brand new World of excitement

She was intent on fulfilling her dream of setting roots in the United States at a time when it was unheard of to see a 25-year old lady traveling the World all by herself, right after the second World War. “You’re crazy!” was what her friends told her…

But that’s So Doris!

Doris arrived at majestic Los Angeles Union Station after having boarded her first plane ever from Zurich to London. She then boarded a long and stormy transatlantic journey on one of the first -four engine propeller flights by “American Overseas Airlines” flights to New York, followed by a transcontinental railroad adventure lasting many days.

People told her to watch out for Indians!!

The only person she knew in LA was a Swiss pen-pal she had been corresponding with.

Before starting the journey, Doris wrote her the arrival details, never knowing if the letter had actually made it! What a relief when she finally met her friend waiting at the Station!

She became the first consular secretary at the Swiss representation in Los Angeles. All by coincidence – or was it fate?

The appointed incoming secretary from Bern was terribly ill, and the consul asked Doris during an unscheduled meeting “Can you steno in French, German and English? – “Of course I can…” (did she really?) The Consul immediately cabled to Bern, asking for permission to hire Doris as a local staffer – and BAM – she got the job! It was meant to be, if you ask me.

She loved working at the Consulate.

She met many dignitaries, entertainers and philanthropists (whom she particularly respected), never forgetting that EVERYONE has an important role to fulfill during their lives – and witnessed the growth of a vibrant Angeleno-Swiss community.

Her many stories ranged from getting people out of jail, to joking around with Showmasters – all the way to a “Wild-West-style” shooting at the consulate’s first location Downtown, which then led to a move to the Westside “to get away from this dubious neighborhood”… only to be confronted at that location by a bomb that ended up not detonating because, as Doris said, “..I bet they didn’t have a Swiss movement in that Timer”!

That’s So Doris!

Doris also often reveled in stories about her second transatlantic voyage – on the famed cruise liner “Andrea Doria” – The ship that sunk a couple of weeks later in what became one of history’s most infamous maritime disasters.

Imagine, Doris (and the Mother, who had joined her on that trip), traveling in style on one of the most luxurious ocean liners rivaled at the time only by the two “Queens” (The Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary).

Always the nonconformist, Doris would wear pants when it was not yet OK for young ladies to wear them – In her work she sometimes stepped on other people’s toes, only to then receive a bad review – but she didn’t care – if it was the right thing to do, she would do it. She navigated SoCal freeways like a pro – and at cocktail receptions she would talk to everyone – ignoring warnings that it’s not proper to speak to married men, as a single lady. She always wore her signature fire-engine red outfits – making her stand out in any crowd – despite her petite stature.

That’s So Doris!

When asked if she feels like an American or a Swiss – she always responded – “I’m exactly half & half – I’m proud of my Swiss heritage and to be born in such a magnificently beautiful country – and now I get to enjoy the Best of both Worlds!

Doris embraced technology and a whole new world of communication: she learned how to use digital cameras – and LOVED her Mac computer, describing it as “Höllisch Toll”. (Hellishly Amazing). She loved the endless research resource offered by the Internet – and occasionally cursed it, too of course! Long before computers, blogs and websites, Doris brought the community together with her widely read Newsletter stories and her active participation at every Swiss event in southern California.

Her advice to younger generations was always
– Love Life
– Be Thankful
– Never Give Up – tomorrow will be a better day!

We salute you, Doris – and know you are resting in peace, among the many Angels that make up this beautiful city you called home for most of your life. All your friends, colleagues and loved ones will think of you often and remember your picture taking, article writing and bright feisty spirit.

Rest in peace and enjoy the Best of both Worlds in your new role as Guardian Angel of all Angeleno-Swiss.

Written by M:)

April 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Posted in LA+Community

One Response

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  1. [...] With great sadness, the Angeleno-Swiss community had to say goodbye to one of the most beloved members of our “Little Switzerland”. (eulogy) [...]


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