Newport doctor called 'compassionate and charitable'

Dr. Catherine 'Kit' Campion Ritz, 57, who practiced at Newport Family Medicine, died in a hit-and-run accident Saturday. She also had close ties to Hoag.

September 17, 2012|By Lauren Williams
  • A visitor pauses at the Ghost Bike-style memorial site on Newport Coast Drive on Monday for Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz, who police say was killed by a hit-and-run driver Saturday. Campion Ritz, 57, of Irvine practiced at Newport Family Medicine.
A visitor pauses at the Ghost Bike-style memorial site… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

A cyclist killed in a weekend hit-and-run accident in Newport Coast was remembered Monday as an empathetic physician who practiced at Newport Family Medicine on Superior Avenue.

Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz, 57, of Irvine was described by her husband, Patrick Ritz, as "a perfect person" who was devoted to being a good family practitioner and was "compassionate and charitable."

For the past 18 years, Campion Ritz, who used her maiden name professionally, served as the president of Greater Newport Physicians.

"Dr. Kit Campion was a warm, engaging leader, respected and loved by her patients, physician colleagues, nurses and health-care professionals throughout Orange County," said Diane Laird, CEO of Greater Newport Physicians, which has more than 550 members. "She worked tirelessly to ensure that members of all the communities we serve had access to the best health care.

"Dr. Campion cared for thousands of patients over the last three decades and played an important role in the health of so many Orange County families."


She previously served as chairwoman of Hoag Hospital's Department of Family Practice, according to Newport Family Medicine's website, and in 1993 she became a member of Hoag's Medical Executive Committee.

Campion Ritz also served as a member of the Orange County Disaster Medical Assistance Team for the U.S. National Disaster Medical System, according to the website.

"She brought to all of us a clear-headed approach to leadership and an incredible vision for the future of health care, inspiring everyone to ensure we always provided the best, most compassionate care, which was her hallmark," Barry Arbuckle, president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System, said in a news release.

Campion Ritz snow-shoed, hiked, biked and kayaked. She often traveled with her husband. Together, they visited Europe and Canada, as well as Idaho, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York and Wyoming, where they owned a home.

Campion Ritz graduated cum laude from UC Irvine with a degree in biological sciences in 1976, according to her practice's website. She graduated from UCLA medical school in 1980 and was licensed to practice the following year.


Saturday accident

Campion Ritz was riding with another cyclist Saturday when she was struck by a black full-sized pickup truck about 9:45 a.m. on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Ridge Drive and Vista Ridge Road, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

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