Dr. Thomas Lovell McRitchie was born the 24th of June 1864 in Bothwell, Ontario. He was the 5th of nine children born to Alexander McRitchie and the former Annie Coulter Bushell. His father was born in Scotland and his mother was born in Ireland. His siblings were; James, Alexander, Annie, David, Maria, Agnes, Josephine and Albert.
After obtaining his primary education in Bothwell, Dr. McRitchie worked in northern Ontario lumber camps and as a tramp steamer to put himself through post-secondary schools. Dr. McRitchie attended London Normal School. After graduation he taught school in Dover Township, followed by terms in St. Catharines and Hamilton. Eventually he attended the University of Western Ontario where he studied medicine and played on the school’s soccer team. He graduated M.D. on May 23, 1889 and he started practicing with Dr. David G. Fleming, in Chatham, Ontario.
According to the 1928 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. McRitchie joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 22nd of May, 1889.
Upon his graduation he 1889, he married Lena Montgomery on the 24th of July, in Chatham. Her parents, Samuel Montgomery and the former Anna Eliza Porter were farmers. Mrs. McRitchie was born on the May 14, 1863 in Dover Twp (Kent County). She was the 5th of 7 children. Her siblings were; Joseph, James, Annie, Mary, Isaac and Samuel.
By 1890 Dr. and Mrs McRitchie had moved to McKay’s Corners in Harwich Twp. Dr. and Mrs. McRitchie had one daughter, Gladys Lillian May McRitchie who was born on the 21st of March 1895 in Howard Twp (Kent County). In this era, it was difficult to make house calls with a horse and buggy (or cutter in the winter) because of the primitive roads. Dr. McRitchie kept four healthy horses to ensure that he would be available to his patients. Dr. McRitchie, appears in the Ontario Business Directory of 1892-1893 as practicing medicine in Harwich Twp (McKays Corners).
Dr. McRitchie moved his practice back to Chatham in 1910. He built his home/office at 234 Wellington Street West. Mrs. Lena McRitchie died on the 28th of May, 1916 at their residence on Wellington Street. She was buried in the Mausoleum at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
In 1917, Dr. McRitchie was appointed as the Medical Officer of Health. In addition to his other responsibilities, he served on Chatham City Counsel as an Alderman and he was also a member of the Erieau Village Council for 4 years. Dr. McRitchie served on the Board of Education.
According to the 1920 edition of Vernon’s City of Chatham Business Directory, Dr. McRitchie’s medical office was located 17 Fifth Street.
Dr. McRitchie married Lottie Fanazick on the 12th of January, 1921. She was born on the 12th of September, 1880 in Woodstock, Ontario. She was the daughter of Joseph Fanazick and the former Dorothy McKay. Her parents were farmers. She had an older sister named Teresa and a younger brother named William. Miss Fanazick was the Superintendent of Nursing at the Public General Hospital in Chatham from 1910 until 1921.
Dr. McRitchie was an active soccer player most of his life and enjoyed hockey as well. Dr. McRitchie participated in duck hunting in Erieau and Rondeau. He was an elder at St. Andrew’s Church. He was a member of the Parthenon Lodge, A.F. & A.M. in Chatham.
Mrs. Lottie McRitchie died on the 9th of February, 1931 at their residence on Wellington Street. She was buried in the Mausoleum at Maple Leaf Cemetery. Dr. McRitchie died at his residence on the 19th of March, 1932. He was buried in the Mausoleum at Maple Leaf Cemetery. Upon his death, he was survived by his daughter Mrs. Gladys Lillian (McRitchie) Kerr.
*Dr. David Gibbs Fleming also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website. His sister Annie married Dr. David Kenneth Stenton and Dr. Stenton also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.