As the skies weep over Northern Virginia, friends, family and associates mourn the loss of local attorney, entrepreneur and life-long Loudoun resident Joe Ritenour.
Ritenour, 62, died at the Inova Loudoun Hospital June 7 after suffering a massive heart attack the previous night.
Ritenour leaves behind a wife, two children and a community he helped build.
After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1976, Ritenour returned to his home county to start his own practice, offering services in criminal, real estate, business and personal injury.
Rhonda Paice, of Ritenour, Paice, Mougin-Boal and Wexton, said Ritenour was a talented, eclectic attorney.
"Joe was probably the most brilliant person I've ever worked with," Paice said. "He was a dedicated legal scholar, very committed to justice and a known expert in real estate law."
Paice said Ritenour not only practiced a variety of law, but also represented a gamut of clients.
"He represented people from all walks of life, from people with no money at all, which he did pro bono, to some of the wealthiest corporations in the world," Paice said.
In 1976, Ritenour served as a co-counsel in Commonwealth v. Julian, a rape-murder case in which Virginia's death penalty was ruled unconstitutional.
Ten years later, Ritenour won Loudoun's largest wrongful death verdict for a widowed family.
In the early 1990s, he represented the Virginia Toll Road Corp. when it expanded Route 267 from Dulles Airport to Leesburg.
Local attorney and friend of Ritenour Peter Burnett said his talents were not limited to the courtroom.
"I think Joe had an unusually broad range of interests," Burnett said. "He was devoted to his children, a real nut about UVA sports, but above all, he was always willing to help anybody out. This got him into a lot of ventures outside the legal practice."
For five and half years, Ritenour served on the Loudoun County Planning Commission, where he oversaw planning and zoning regulations for one of the fastest growing counties in America.
In real estate, Ritenour renovated the Courthouse Square Office Condominiums, Southern Exchange Retail Center in Leesburg and converted a former bowling alley into offices at Catoctin Circle. Ritenour also founded Allied Professionals Realty and Development Co. Ritenour was involved in 5,000 real estate contracts both inside and outside the commonwealth. Ritenour also owned and operated The Village Restaurant and the Papa John's / Scoopers in Leesburg, as well as Marquis Records, a production company.
Burnett said Ritenour was determined in anything he set out to do.
"He could stay remarkably focused on an issue and see it through," Burnett said. "However, with little things he could be forgetful. I can't tell you how many times somebody would come into a restaurant and say, 'Hey Joe, it's about to rain, so you better put the top up on your Jaguar.' But that was Joe."
Burnett said Ritenour was also a positive man.
"He always saw the bright side of things, extremely upbeat and enthusiastic about what he was doing," Brunett said.
Visitations will be held at the Leesburg United Methodist Church at 107 W. Market St. from 5 to 9 p.m. June 11. Ritenour's funeral service is at 11 a.m. June 12 at the church followed by a celebration of his life in the back lawn of his offices at The Laurel Brigade.
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