Henry W. Rittenberg, M.D., of Charleston, died April 22, 2012. The relatives and friends of Henry and Sara Rittenberg are invited to attend the funeral services of the former at BSBI Maryville Cemetery on Sycamore Avenue, Monday, April 23, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. Henry Woodrow Rittenberg, M.D., 94, died April 22, 2012 at Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community. He was born in Charleston on January 6, 1918, the son of the Sadie Livingstain Rittenberg and the Honorable Samuel Oscar Rittenberg. He was proudly educated in the Charleston County Public Schools-an honor graduate of James Simons School and the High School of Charleston, where he received a highly distinguished Classical-Scientific Diploma. After the death of his father in January 1932 and his mother in December of that year, he and his brother Alvin lived with their great uncle Harris Livingstain above his store at 438 King Street. Henry was able to continue his education by winning a City of Charleston scholarship to The Citadel-one of his proudest achievements and fondest affiliations. At The Citadel, dejected by the loss of his parents and the sense that he could not afford his childhood dream of attending medical school, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. At The Citadel, Henry earned the nickname of “Blossom” for his emergence into leadership roles serving as a Cadet Captain, Editor of the student newspaper, associate editor of the magazine and yearbook, and as a member of the honor society. Following graduation from The Citadel, he went to work for Greenwood Cotton Mill. In Greenwood, he became very involved in the community. He co-founded the Greenwood Junior Chamber of Commerce. He unsuccessfully sought election to the S.C. House of Representatives. He served on the state Jaycees Board of Directors and had risen to President-Elect when he resigned at the onset of World War II. From 1942-46, he served in the United States Army. He received field artillery training at Ft. Hood, Texas and served in the Coast Artillery defending Boston Harbor. In Europe, he served with the 549th Field Artillery Battalion that was attached at different times to the Ninth U.S. Army, the Second British Army, and the First Allied Airborne Army. He served in the Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns and was recommended for battlefield promotion for action under fire in the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. He received the American Theater Medal, European Theater Medal with two battle stars, German Occupation Medal, Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal with knot for a second award. Before departing Europe, he earned a Certificate in French Culture and Civilization from the University of Paris (The Sorbonne). Following his discharge from the Army, Henry moved to Branchville, SC to help his aunt and uncle care for his brother Milton Pearlstine and to help them run their pharmacy. When the pharmacist retired, Henry commuted to Columbia to earn his Pharmacy degree summa cum laude and was the first honor graduate from the University of South Carolina. He would stay up all night to stock the store and return to Columbia to attend school at USC. He earned the highest score ever recorded on the pharmacy licensure examination. After completing pharmacy school, the GI Bill allowed Henry to pursue his real professional dream of attending medical school. He entered the Medical College of South Carolina in 1952 at the age of 34-the oldest medical student they had enrolled up to that time. While taking an accelerated curriculum to finish a semester early, he was first in his class and class president. Following graduation, he served his internship at Indianapolis General Hospital. He then joined his brother Alvin L. Rittenberg in North Charleston. The two of them covered their North Charleston practice 24/7 until their retirement nearly 30 years later. Within months of returning to Charleston, Henry entered upon a whirlwind romance with his childhood friend, the former Sara Zucker Mescon, and they were married April 12, 1957. Henry’s greatest pride was his family. He recently said that he felt the best part of his life began when he married Sara. He was grateful that he had the chance to have a family late in life. He filled the role of loving and involved father and grandfather long before it was expected. Henry loved people and talking. His long list of involvement and affiliation reflects both a commitment to his community and joyous opportunity to make and talk to friends. He was co-founder of the Kiwanis Club of North Charleston, Crime Stoppers of Charleston, the Trident Technical College Foundation, and the Lowcountry Phi Beta Kappa Association. He took pride in helping to establish the Gold Corps Weekend at The Citadel. He served as President of the Medical University of South Carolina Alumni Association. He was a member of Brith Shalom Beth Israel Congregation, Synagogue Emanu-el, the Jewish Community Center, B’nai Brith, the Hebrew Benevolent Society, the Charleston Christian-Jewish Council, and the Hebrew Orphan Society. He was a member of a half dozen state, local, and national medical organizations. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He was a member of the Elks (BPOE 242), Friendship Lodge #9, Scottish Rite (32?), Omar Shrine Temple, Downtown Athletic Club, Charleston Trident Chamber of Commerce, The Citadel Alumni Association and Brigadier Club, the Greater USC Alumni Association, U.S. Navy League, Air Force Association, Hibernian Society, the Charleston Computer Club, and the Charleston Lions Club. In retirement, Henry received the Alumnus of the Year Award from the Citadel Alumni Association in 2001. That same year, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Medical Science degree from The Citadel. Henry is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sara Zucker Rittenberg; his children, Dr. Harriett Rittenberg Steinert of Charleston, SC, Dr. Libby Rittenberg and her husband Dr. Nasit Ari of Colorado Springs, CO and Dr. Charles Rittenberg of Charleston, SC; his grandchildren Leslie Elizabeth Steinert of Charleston, SC, Joanna Steinert Wingate and her husband Robert Wingate of Murrell’s Inlet, SC, Dr. Mim Ari and her husband J. Benjamin St. Clair of Denver, CO, Nisa Ari of New York City, NY, Rachel Barbara Rittenberg of Charleston, SC and Rebecca Alice Rittenberg and her husband Shmuel Dabush of Charleston, SC; and his great-grandchildren Jacob Andrew Wingate and Benjamin Ryan Wingate of Murrell’s Inlet, SC. Henry was predeceased by six siblings, his daughter-in-law Dr. Bethe Rittenberg, and his son-in-law Dr. N. Steven Steinert. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Henry Rittenberg Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation at 635 Rutledge Avenue #201, Charleston, SC 29403 (www.coastalcommunityfoundation.org) or the . Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR INC., DOWNTOWN CHAPEL. A memorial message may be written to the family by visiting our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com. Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/charleston.
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