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Luminary event held to remember drowning victims

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Hundreds attended the luminary event.
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Hundreds attended the luminary event.
Published July 09. 2012 05:02PM

More than a hundred floating luminaries filled the skies above Summit Hill Sunday night as people took part in a luminary ceremony held at the Ginther Field in memory of drowning victims Nolan Ritchie, 7, and his grandmother Wanda Wentz, age 49.

Both drowned Friday, June 22 in the Lehigh River following a swimming accident. Wentz, Ritchie and another grandchild were reportedly swimming in the river below a trestle that spans the river between Lehighton and Weissport. Reports indicated that two neighbors, a 14-year-old male and 6-year-old female, were walking along the river when a chain of tragic events unfolded.

Police said the female slipped off rocks and into the river under the trestle, an area known for its swirling water.

Nolan is the son of Tiffany and Rob Ritchie. Wanda was the mother of Tiffany (Smith) Ritchie. Taking part in the ceremony were employees from Sundance Vacations and members of the Grace Community Church in Lansford. During the ceremony, Denise Tobin, luminary organizer, co-worker and a close friend of the family, thanked Rob and Tiffany Ritchie for allowing everyone to take part in their moment.

The ceremony also consisted of music, prayers and special words from family and friends. All donations were given to the Ritchie family to help deflect the cost of the funeral expenses they will incur during these difficult times. Donations can still be made by calling Tobin at (570) 645-6719 or by dropping them off at the church. Denise added, "The lanterns were each lit and released into the night sky reflecting the love we all have for Nolan and Wanda and their entire family."

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