Ritchie Woods was laid to rest this week after a long and happy life in San Pedro, where he chose to spend his life after early retirement. There is so much interesting and nice things that can be said of Ritchie that it would take a good author and an entire book to narrate his biography. However, at this moment a few good thing suffice to give him thanks for being a part of San Pedro, and good-bye from this community that loved him dearly.
When Ritchie first arrived in San Pedro, he bought a property by the beach and built his home, which he later expanded to include a few rooms which he rented to visiting tourists without hotel reservations. He never advertised, but preferred his hospitality to speak for itself.
Ritchie was a sea lover and had his boat too where he spent countless hours in the sea practicing what he was specialized in - marine biology. Ritchie was a living dictionary or rather encyclopedia when it came to marine biology. And during his sea explorations, he discovered many things including the sites of valuable shipwrecks with priceless treasures. But Ritchie swore never to disturb what was not his. “It belongs to Belize,” Ritchie would say.
Ritchie became good friends with all the community and especially with Lions after he discovered that they were a good club of service. He did not join Lions, but joined in their efforts to build the first clinic for San Pedro. Ritchie put his $1,000U.S donation in a photo album, and then went around circulating it to tourists and influential friends of his. Soon he handed over to the Lions President an album with several thousands of dollars which went towards the construction of the Lions Clinic. During his life in San Pedro he was guest speaker many times in many classes at San Pedro High School where he lectured in Marine Biology. You can be certain his students were impressed.
His many friendships built on the Island can generate many similar anecdotes about this humble man who chose to spend a solitary life of retirement in San Pedro. At times he looked sad and even suffering, but when you talked to him you could discover that he was very happy doing what he was doing because it was part of his retirement.
Ritchie Woods is now retired forever and quite surely he will continue spending long, solitary but happy moments in his new life. San Pedro will surely miss Ritchie and remember him always as an interesting, noble and kind hearted person. Ambergris Today salutes this man and expresses condolences to his many friends and family. May his soul rest in peace.
About 10:30a.m. on Monday, July 21, Police visited a yard at the corner of Barrier Reef Drive and Caribeña Street where the body of a male person was seen lying inside a small roofless plywood structure in advance state of decomposition.
The body was identified as that of Richard Loring Woods, 63 year-old, Belizean retired Marine Biologist of no fixed address. No signs of violence were observed neither on the body nor the immediate surroundings.
Information gathered indicated that Woods was last seen alive in the same area on Saturday, July 19. A medical officer called to the scene viewed the body and later issued a death certificate classifying the cause of death as Natural. Medical records indicated Woods to have been suffering from Ulcers of the skin as a consequence of Urinary tract infection, malnutrition and chronic alcoholism. Due to the stage of decomposition, the remains were taken directly to the cemetery for burial.