Peggy Sue Johnson

We have the heartbreaking duty to report that our dear mom, Peggy Sue Johnson, has rejoined her departed family, friends, and beloved animal companions who have preceded her across the Rainbow Bridge on Friday, January 26, 2024.  Born on August 15, 1942 in Newport News and a 1960 graduate of Newport News High School, she spent 29 years in civil service, retiring from the Air Superiority Project Office at Eglin AFB in Florida where she “sold missiles to Turks”, as she often put it, as the International Business Manager for the AMRAAM Joint Systems Project Office.  Prior to that assignment, she worked in the project testing office for the Space Shuttle engine in Mississippi, and numerous projects at Langley AFB.
Peggy was a fiercely independent woman and committed liberal with an unwavering loyalty towards her family, friends, and all animals.  Honest and authentic in all regards, she took great joy in listening to all kinds of music, with a particular affinity for Americana such as bluegrass and proper old-school country music from Willie, Waylon, Dolly, Johnny Cash, and the like, and was always supportive of her sons’ musical activities.  Mom was also a voracious reader and a frequent customer of the Portsmouth Public Library.  Additionally, she loved to knit, and would make all manner of creative things for her family and friends, and she was a diligent and precise genealogist who uncovered a great deal of family history once thought lost to the mists of time.
Mom’s single most enduring characteristic was her infinite compassion for animals, particularly cats.  We would occasionally tease her about being the prototypical “crazy cat lady” due to her affinity for taking care of feral cats, but she had a genuine love for animals and hated to see them suffer.  Over the years she has had the constant companionship of dozens of cats as well as a boxer (Bubba) and two standard poodles (Maggie and McGee) whom she loved dearly.
Mom moved from Ohio back to Virginia in October 2012 to be closer to us.  She remained completely independent in all regards right up to the very end.  In accordance with Mom’s wishes, she was brought to Hospice House in Williamsburg where she peacefully moved on to her next adventure on the evening of 26 January.  And true to form, her last words were, “Take care of the cats.”
Mom is survived by two sons – Lynn Ritger (Debra) and Benjamin Ritger (Christina), three grandchildren (Danika, Dimitri, and Evelynn), one aunt (Louise Key), numerous cousins, and seven cats – Carrie Ann, Louie, Nacho, Wilma, Susie, Leroy, and Tiny Tim.  She was predeceased by her mother (Lorraine Cornevin Rogers) and father (Stanford Tutwiler Johnson).  The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to the teams at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Amedisys, and Hospice House of Williamsburg.  Their skill is only exceeded by their grace, and we will be forever grateful for their efforts on Mom’s behalf.
The family will receive visitors from 5 pm to 7 pm on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, VA 23601.  Mom’s celebration of life will be held at 12 pm on February 7, 2024 at Peninsula Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Peninsula Memorial Park, 12750 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, VA  23606.


  1. Phyllis Van Horn

    Hi Lynn and Ben. Louise, Kyle, Cindy and I are so sorry for the passing of Peggy. We have been heartbroken along with you. Our love and prayers go out to both of you.
    We plan to view the funeral on line Wednesday. So sorry we won’t be there in person, but we will be praying.
    Praying for comfort and peace for all of you.
    Love, Louise, Phyllis, Cindy, Kyle

    • Lynn Ritger

      Hi Phyllis, thank you so much for your kind words. She always had the nicest things to say about all the WV family. This has all come as such a shock – it still doesn’t seem real, somehow. We’re getting through as best we can, but we sure miss Mom.

      Thank you again, and I hope you and the family are doing ok.

  2. Siobhan Foley Watson

    Sorry to hear of your mom’s passing, she was such a good friend to my mom when she lived in Crestview FL. I have fond memories visiting her in her house on Pearl street and the cats! I’m sure she and Mary are listening to some great Dolly, Hank and Waylon songs in heaven.

  3. Shirley J Wilkins

    Peggy is my first cousin my father’s Neice. I loved her and shared so many warm memories over the years visiting and staying on our Grandparents farm in Fluvanna VA. We have stayed in touch and especially in the last five or so years via social media on Facebook. I will miss her wonderful loving stories of her cats and kittens she has saved and raised in her home. What a wonderful meeting it was for her in Heaven, surrounded by loved family members and furry
    loved ones. She will be missed by many, and I look forward to rejoining her in Heaven. A donation has been given to the Portsmouth Humane Society in her memory by her first cousins, Mrs Shirley Johnson Wilkins, Mrs. Alice Johnson Wells, Charles Johnson, Mrs. Nancy Johnson Martin and Mrs. Eleanor Johnson Donavon.

    In Christ’s love always,
    Shirley Johnson Wilkins.


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