Richardson “Ritz” Houghton, 67, died Oct. 21, 2017, peacefully in his sleep. He was born Aug. 28, 1950, in Deerfield, Mass., the third son of the late Rev. Herbert and Mary (Gulnac) Houghton. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Orono High School.
Ritz began his masonry career as an apprentice in Bangor. Two years later, he laid brick on high-rises in New York, and then ventured to South Africa to work on the Johannesburg Hospital and the Middleburg Dam. In 1977, he settled in Colorado, managed two masonry companies, and then started his own. His projects included churches, parking garages, schools, shopping malls and custom homes, the largest being the 55,000-square-foot Hala Ranch in Aspen, Colo. Within 15 years, Ritz trained over 12 apprentices, eight of whom became contractors or went on to management positions.
Ritz is survived by his longtime friend and partner, Debra Boyd (Surry); daughter Brianna Houghton Richardson and husband Jon (League City, Texas); Deb’s children, Marcella, Sean and Serena Boyd (Fort Collins, Colo.); brother James “Howdy” Houghton (Bar Harbor); and two devoted Norwegian Elkhounds, Scruf and Blue. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Dudley and John Houghton.
Our “Rock It Scientist” will be sadly missed by his family and friends, but we are certain he is searching for his next project in the sky. As Ritz would say, “Never take anything for granite, especially each other.” In accordance with his wishes, no funeral service is planned. A celebration of Ritz’s life will be held in November. Condolences may be sent to 216 High St., #341, Ellsworth, ME 04605.