Father Dennis G. Riter 1945-2020
Father Dennis G. Riter, who has ministered to the Hispanic community of the Buffalo Diocese since his ordination, died Feb. 8, 2020, at Buffalo General Hospital after a brief illness. He was 74.
Born Oct. 15, 1945, to Anthony and Caroline Stephen Riter in Buffalo, Father Riter attended Depew Elementary School and St. John the Baptist in Alden. He later attended the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary for high school and college. He went on to earn a master of divinity degree from St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora.
He was ordained May 29, 1971, at St. Joseph New Cathedral by Bishop James McNulty. His first assignment saw him ministering to Hispanics as part of the Spanish Apostolate. That fall, he was assigned as assistant at Assumption Parish in Lackawanna, where he served until 1977. He went on to serve at St. Aloysius Parish in Springville from 1977-1982; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Dunkirk from 1982-1984; St. Brigid Parish in Buffalo as administrator from 1984-1987; Queen of All Saints Parish in Lackawanna as administrator 1987-1994. In 1982, Father Riter was named coordinator of the Spanish Apostolate in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area.
In July of 1994, Father Riter was appointed administrator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Valentine parishes in Buffalo. Two years later, he was named pastor of those parishes. In 2002, he was named pastor of St. Mary Parish in Batavia. In 2008, he became pastor St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Dunkirk, where he was serving at the time of his death.
He also served as episcopal vicar and vicar forane for Chautauqua, as well as chaplain at the Brooks Memorial Hospital.
One of eight children, his siblings include Carol (Lorenz) Stifter of Freedom, NY, Joanne (Robert) Idzik of Elizabethtown, PA, Betty (Ron) Reimer of Marilla, NY, Charles (Rita) Riter of Port Crane, NY, Thomas (Gail) Riter of Bergen, NY, Mary Jane (James) Lynch of Gallitzin, PA, and John Riter of Alden, NY. Also survived by caring nephews, nieces and cousins and special friends Rev. Thomas Quinlivan and Sr. Barbara Riter, SSMN.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Visiting hours will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 3-7 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 10-11 a.m. Burial will be in St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Alden. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association. Arrangements are by the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home.