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William Byrum Rittenberry
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Obituary for William Byrum Rittenberry

William Byrum Rittenberry was born on December 12, 1925 on a farm outside of Duncanville, Texas. He is the last of a great family: parents, Morris and Lucille Haswell Rittenberry, sisters ,Margaret Haynes and Mattie Lou Campbell, and brothers, Morris Henry (Dooney) and John Richard (Dick) Rittenberry.

After graduation from Duncanville High School, Bill attended Abilene Christian College and was then drafted into the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday. He served in the celebrated 42nd Rainbow Division that was instrumental in the liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau. For his part in the liberation of France, he was knighted by the French Republic and awarded the Legion of Honor in November, 2016.

Upon returning from Europe, he attended Arlington State University and Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In 1949 he married Dorothy French, who remained his bride and best friend for 66 years.

In 1955 he moved his young family to San Tomé, Venezuela, where he worked as a chemical engineer in the petroleum industry. For all of his professional life he worked in many aspects of the oil industry, including years in Venezuela as well as in Quito, Ecuador, and Duncanville, Odessa, and Bullard, Texas. For the last 8 years he and his wife have called Austin home, where they’ve made many friends. Bill was a person who “never met a stranger.”
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings and by 3 sons, Arnold Eric, William Morris, and Joseph Paul Rittenberry.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, daughter Suzanne and husband Tim Wilson, son James David (Jimmy) Rittenberry , 5 grandchildren: Pascal Barczak, Jessica Wortham, Haley Rittenberry, Rosie Rittenberry, and Secoya Rittenberry, 2 great-grandchildren, Wyatt and Winter Wortham, and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held Monday, September 11, from 6 – 8 pm at Jaynes Memorial Chapel in Duncanville, and graveside service will be held the following morning at 10:00 am at Little Bethel Cemetery. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 16 at Berkeley United Methodist Church, 2407 Berkeley Ave, Austin, TX, at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Previous Events





6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Jaynes Memorial Chapel

811 S. Cockrell Hill Road
Duncanville, TX 75137





10:00 AM
Little Bethel Memorial Park

1803 South Cedar Hill Road
Duncanville, Texas 75137

Memorial Contribution

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


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