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.

margie milner September 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Dr. Campion delivered my son. we also worked in labor and delivery at Hoag. She was my favorite. I am in mourning. Margie
Norm Bour September 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Incredibly, incredibly, sad. The number of hit & run drivers that do these things drive me nuts. Murder One in my book, no manslaughter.
Sandra Persky September 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Doctor Campion was an amazingly wonderful caring precise physician, We were robbed of wonderful humanitarian. Her memory will b e forever for a blessing. Through the book at the scoundrel who took her from us.
Sandra Persky September 18, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Doctor Campion was an amazingly wonderful caring precise physician, We were robbed of wonderful humanitarian. Her memory will b e forever for a blessing. Through the book at the scoundrel who took her from us.
Margaret Walker September 18, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Dr. Campion was the most amazing physician I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. She always took time to see how you were doing, not just why you were there to see her. My three daughters ended up becoming patients and felt the same way. She made you feel like you were the only patient in her office. I have never had a physician take the time she took to really get to know her patients. There isn't a physician out there like her. I will miss so many things about her. I am incredibly sad......
Diane Palermo September 18, 2012 at 04:23 AM
She was our family physician since 1986. She was the most caring physician . She always took the time to catch up on my life and always made me feel like I was the only patient in her office. I will miss her so much. Diane P.
Robin O'Mahony September 18, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Dr. Campion has been a part of my adult life as my only physician. She gave me comfort at every visit and I always knew I was in great hands because of her integrity and passion for healthy living. I will miss her tremendously and send condolences to her family and friends. With sympathy, Robin O.
Mirta Scherff September 18, 2012 at 06:45 AM
I just heard the news about Dr. Campion's passing. Still can not believe it. She has been my Dr. for the last 10 years and loved her, not only as my doctor, but as a great person who always listened and tended to all my needs. She will be greatly missed.
Cathyvon September 18, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Dr. Campion was warm, kind, and brilliant. Going partly on extensive knowledge and partly on intuition, she can get to the bottom of a medical problem in near-miraculous time. She has most definitely been good for my health, and she was a friend. I will miss her terribly, just as her patient. I am so very sorry for her family, who will miss this remarkable lady that much more.
Shelly Pisors September 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Dr. Campion helped us raise our family-including our severely disabled oldest son. I was with her on Friday and we talked about the kids, exercise, the changing nature of healthcare and medical practice. She was part of our lives for twenty years. We are heartbroken and our thoughts and prayers are with her husband and family.
Miriam Matulich RD September 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Dr. Campion was a very special physician to those of all ages. I remember she called me to learn more about the individualized nutrition counseling I would provide for her patients as the outpatient dietitian. On several occasions she spoke to groups of new parents-to-be about choosing a pediatrician and I would teach the same groups prenatal nutriton.. She has referred many of her patients for nutrition counseling. I was very fortunate to have known her. May God bless Dr. Campion and bring comfort to her family and friends.
Sara September 18, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I am so sad to hear about this great loss to our community. I was a patient of Dr. Campion for at least 25 years. I just saw her last Friday. I am so sad. Dr. Campion will be sorely missed by many patients and friends and colleagues for a very long time. She is irreplaceable. My sympathies to her husband and her dog and her mother and her siblings. Sara L. Parker
Cathy Cottrill September 19, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Dr. Campion was a very special person and doctor. She has taken care of me and my mother for 30 years. She always made me feel comfortable and I knew she cared. She really did. My heart goes out to all who knew her and especially her family. Thank you Dr. Campion for all you did to better the lives of all who knew you and even the ones you didn't. Your compassion touched many. You will be missed.
D. Karel September 19, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Dr. Campion was an incredible person first and foremost--and the best practicing physician I have ever had the pleasure to be under the care of. She was always happy to see you and never rushed the conversation. Her compassion, caring and attitude about life was contagious. Before we left CA she told me about the home that they had in Wyoming...and how great the community was there and how she hoped to spend more and more time there with her husband. She shared her life with me as I shared my life with her...in every meeting. She will be missed by so many and will be remembered as one of the finest, most loving physicians among her peers. Thank you Catherine--for what you gave me and how you cared for both my husband and I. This world will not be the same without her.
mike fujimori September 19, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Dr Campion was my only Doctor she brought Life and love into this world. I was with her for over 30 years. She will be missed by all who know her. Dr campion Thank You for all you did for me and my family. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. With love because he first loved us! Mr. Fujimori
E. Smith September 19, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Dr. Campion was my physician for more than 25 years. I am so incredibly shocked and saddened by the news of this tragedy. I echo the comments of others regarding her extraordinary brilliance, professionalism, and caring compassion as a doctor. My heart and prayers go out to her husband, family, friends, colleagues and patients.
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


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »