Marie Helen Rittman, 94, of Milltown, passed away peacefully in the presence of her family on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The daughter of Anthony F. Silzer, Sr. and Mary K. Silzer (née Wegand), Marie was born July 23, 1925 in New Brunswick at a time when her great uncle, George S. Silzer, was governor of New Jersey. Marie was a lifelong resident of Milltown, and faithful member of St. Paul’s Church. She was also a member of the Milltown Senior Citizens, the Red Hat Ladies, and the Deutscher Club of Clark, NJ.
In 1940, Marie graduated from Roosevelt Junior High School in New Brunswick before going to work as a seamstress. In 1941, two months before the U.S. entry into the Second World War, she started dating Henry Rittman of Ford Avenue, Milltown. On Thanksgiving Day 1942, Marie was engaged to Henry who was training with the 36th Infantry Division, soon to be sent overseas into combat in Italy, France and Germany. While Henry was away, Marie enjoyed Big Band acts at the Adams Theater in Newark and the Paramount Theater in New York, including Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey, Harry James, and Glenn Miller. After more than two and a half years, and three Purple Hearts, Henry returned safely to Marie in Milltown. Three weeks later, Marie and Henry were married on September 8, 1945 in St. Paul’s Church on Main Street.
Marie was a devoted wife of 46 years, a loving mother to three sons, a dedicated homemaker, and a faithful church member. She enjoyed crocheting, embroidering, craft-making, and raising her three boys. She volunteered for various activities at St. Paul’s Church, including Vacation Bible School and the Women’s Guild. When her children were grown, she returned to work at Leedall Products Manufacturing Co. in Milltown until her husband retired. She spent time with her husband, travelling and enjoying her life, and she loved dancing and listening to German polka music. After Henry passed away in 1991, Marie enjoyed singing in the chorus of the Milltown Senior Citizens. She especially enjoyed patronizing local restaurants where she was known for spreading her unique style of humor, joy and happiness to all who would listen. She was also known for sending cheerful and encouraging poems and cards to friends in time of need, and she was a pen pal to Milltown second-grade students. In 2017, Marie was presented with four posthumous awards of the NJ Distinguished Service Medal for the war service of her husband, father, brother, and uncle. She was also honored by Milltown’s mayor and borough council.
Marie is predeceased by her husband, Henry; her parents, Mary & Anthony Silzer, Sr.; her brother, Anthony Silzer, Jr.; and her grandson, Brian Rittman. She is survived by her son Gary Rittman of Milltown; her son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Frances Rittman of Clinton; and her son and daughter-in-law, Alan and Janet Rittman of Monroe. Marie is also survived by great granddaughters Emma Rittman of Philadelphia; Kyra Lyman of Wenonah, NJ; and Jenna Rittman of Calabash, NC.
Family at friends will be received Sunday 3-7pm at Bronson & Guthlein Funeral Home, 152 N. Main Street, Milltown. Funeral services will be celebrated Monday 10:30am at the funeral home. Interment will follow at Van Liew Cemetery, Georges Road, North Brunswick. Memorial donations may be made to St. Paul’s Church, 62 S. Main Street, Milltown, NJ 08850.
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St. Paul's Church
62 S. Main Street, Milltown NJ 08850