Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lou Ritter R.I.P.

Lou Ritter has died. It is a loss to the city of Jacksonville.
Ritter probably was the most knowledgeable person about politics in Jacksonville for the period from the Depression to today.
He came out of college at the University of Florida and won a seat on the old City Council at the age of 25. Later he was a city commission and in the 1960s became mayor. For many years he was a highly effective lobbyist.
I first met Ritter as a young police reporter in the early '60s. He came to the old county patrol headquarters at about 7 a.m., campaigning, and I was introduced to him. One of the cops told Ritter I might be carrying a gun and Ritter patted me down, jokingly.
When he finished I grabbed my pocket and said, "My wallet is missing!" He laughed and we were friends from that point on. For the past several years I had lunch with him and some other friends once a month. He always amused and astounded us with his political stories and he had been working on a book for months that probably would contain many of them.
Jacksonville won't see the likes of Lou Ritter again.

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