AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Longtime Austintown School Board member Dr. David Ritchie, affectionately known as “Doc,” passed away recently.

Ritchie began serving on the school board in 1968. The retired foot surgeon had the longest tenure of any board member in the state of Ohio, serving Austintown students and families for decades.

He saw 24,000 students graduate.

“He was a true gentleman,” the district said in a statement. “On behalf of the board of education and our entire Austintown family, he will be greatly missed.”

In 2017, the school district the board of education room was named the Doctor David Ritchie Legacy room.

Ritchie’s last year as a board member was December of 2019.

After being defeated in the election that year, he said, “I’m proud of the work I did, yes, I am, really. I feel I went over and above as far as doing my job, really.”

Ritchie was also a member of many organizations in Austintown and served on various boards in the area.

The Austintown School District said he passed away peacefully in his sleep.