Jan. 03–LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP — Paul C. Ritter, a former Mack Trucks Inc. executive from Lower Macungie Township, died Monday, 11 days after a tractor-trailer collided with his car. He was 81.
Ritter died of natural causes, the Lehigh County coroner’s office said. An autopsy Tuesday found that his death was not related to the Berks County traffic accident.
Ritter, of Steeplechase Drive, worked more than four decades in Mack’s heavy-duty truck sales and marketing, serving at the company’s Allentown headquarters and at offices throughout the United States and Canada.
Robin Crawford, Mack executive director of corporate affairs, said Ritter was an ambassador of goodwill for the company.
“I think everyone liked him,” she said. “He was well-suited for sales. He was very friendly, easy to get along with, and he understood the product. When you talk about Mack people, he was definitely Mack pride.”
In 1959, he joined Mack Trucks. In 1981, he was named president of Mack Canada Inc., where he served three years until his return to Allentown as a senior vice president of sales.
Ritter, who grew up in North Bergen, N.J., was a Lehigh University graduate with a bachelor of science degree in marketing.
Ritter was pulling out of the parking lot of Moll’s Garage at 2936 Seisholtzville Road, Hereford Township, at 1:50 p.m. Dec. 21 when his car was hit by the tractor-trailer, according to state police at Reading.
Troopers said he suffered a head injury in the crash, during which the truck dragged his car about 200 feet to a grassy embankment. Ritter was taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, where he was treated and released the same day, authorities said.
The truck driver, David L. Steffey, 26, of Leesport, was not at fault, police said.
Crawford said she was shocked by Ritter’s death, because she had heard he had recovered from the crash.
“He was even able to joke about the accident,” she said. “He told friends that he was hit by a truck, but it was not a Mack Truck.” State police noted his car was hit by a Freightliner model.
Ritter was pronounced dead 3:45 p.m. Monday in his home. The autopsy found his head injury in the accident did not contribute to his death.
Since his retirement from Mack, Ritter has served as a board member and as an adviser to the America on Wheels transportation museum in Allentown.
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