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Community Mourns Newport Doctor Killed in Bike Accident

Catherine Ritz, 57, of Irvine, was killed Saturday while cycling on Newport Coast Drive. She was a doctor in Newport Beach for nearly 30 years.

Colleagues and friends are mourning a Newport Beach doctor who was killed over the weekend while cycling on Newport Coast Drive.

Catherine Ritz, known professionally as Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion, was president of Greater Newport Physicians since 1994 and worked for 30 years to improve healthcare by treating thousands of patients, according to a statement released by GNP. Campion-Ritz, 57, of Irvine, was killed Saturday following a hit-and-run collision on Newport Coast Drive.

She was an avid cyclist alongside her husband, Patrick, and was a physician in Newport Beach spending time practicing in the Fashion Island area and at Hoag Hospital for many years.

Carlene Parrish says she was shocked and saddened to hear of her doctor's passing.

"I had a procedure performed by her just last Thursday and am very grateful for the extended appointment that allowed us time to catch up," Parrish said. "I have gone to her since 1986 and will miss her terribly. She was not just a wonderful doctor, but an exeptional human as well."

"Dr. Kit Campion was a warm, engaging leader, respected and loved by her patients, physician colleagues, nurses and healthcare professionals throughout Orange County," added Diane Laird, a long-time friend, colleague and the medical group's CEO. "She worked tirelessly to ensure that members of all the communities we serve had access to the best healthcare. Everyone at Greater Newport Physicians and Nautilus Healthcare Management Group are deeply saddened by this great loss."

Campion-Ritz was board Certified in Family Practice by the American Academy of Family Physicians and an Orange County physician for 29 years. She graduated cum laude from the UC Irvine, with a degree in biological sciences and completed medical school at UCLA.

In 1985, she was one of the founding physicians of Greater Newport Physicians and served on the board for more than 20 years. She was an active member of the Hoag medical staff for nearly 30 years and served as Chair of the Family Practice Department as well as an elected position on the Medical Executive Committee.

Barry Arbuckle, who worked with Campion-Ritz through MemorialCare Health System's affiliation with GNP, says she was a tremendous attribute to the healthcare community.

"She brought to all of us a clear-headed approach to leadership and an incredible vision for the future of healthcare," Arbuckle, president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System, said. "Inspiring everyone to ensure we always provided the best, most compassionate care, which was her hallmark."

Campion-Ritz is survived by her husband Patrick Ritz, dog Sandy, her mother Corinne Campion, five brothers and sisters and four nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Casa Teresa, Semper Fi Fund or Wounded Warrior Project.

The death of Campion-Ritz was the second bicyclist fatality in Newport Beach over the weekend. Resident Sarah Leaf, 29, was killed Friday about 10:40 a.m. when she was hit by a truck on Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive.

Police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said both accidents remain under investigation and no arrests have been made.

Mayor Nancy Gardner said she was deeply saddened about the deaths of Campion-Ritz and Leaf.

"It's devastating after seeing a downward trend in bicycle accidents to have this happen," Gardner said.

Police are still looking for the driver who hit Campion-Ritz. The vehicle is described as a black full-sized pickup truck, possibly 2001-2004 Toyota Tacoma, with significant damage to the right front area of the vehicle.

Anyone with information regarding the fatal collision should call Traffic Investigator Eric Little at 949-644-3746 or email at elittle@nbpd.org.

Mel September 20, 2012 at 09:57 AM
Incredibly shocked and saddened by Dr. Campion's passing. I was one of her patients for many years. She was a stalwart in the community. Prayers for her family, friends and colleagues.
Kim Smith September 20, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I will remember you always, Dr. Campion. You were the most admirable doctor and human being. I trusted you completely, and had enormous respect and love for you. You delivered both of my children, and saw my entire family through tough things and well as joyous ones for over 24 years. I always knew you really cared about us. I close my eyes and see your smiling face and feel your cool, healing hand. We will miss you forever.
Francis September 20, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Dr. Campion was the best doctor! I will always remember her kindness, patience, and wisdom. I admired her so much and always looked forward to visiting with her. She took a real interest in her patients. She is also such a great role model for younger woman! I will never forget her.....I will miss her so much....I still can't believe she gone like a puff of wind...but her spirit remains in all of the kindness she left behind....I will never forget her!!!!
anita livingston October 05, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Anita Livingston After being my doctor for only 7 years, she helped me respect my health and regain it, too, after not caring for myself very well for a few years. My physical sense of well being that I have today is her legacy to me. Thank you, Dr. Campion Thank you, sweet family, for sharing her with us.
Veronica Mares November 06, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I'm so sad to heard of Dr Campions passing, I was her patient since 1985, my self as well as my family will miss her , specially my younger son , since she brought him into this world and now he's 24. Dr. Kit we will miss you. The Mares Family

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