June 9, 2014. Harvey Ritch, longtime owner of Everything Scottish in Linville, passed away at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, June 8, in Newland at age 85. Ritch’s shop, one of the nation’s first Scottish import shops and a landmark of High Country Scottish culture, closed last February after a remarkable 43 years in business.
Ritch and his shop were more than just part of the local business community. Called “the High Country’s Pipe Major,” Ritch has founded a number of pipe bands, trained dozens of award-winning pipers, and played a major role in the growth of Scottish culture in the High Country, the South, and the nation. In 1973, Ritch accepted the invitation of Highland Games co-founder Agnes MacRae Morton, and her son Julian, to open Everything Scottish in the stone tower that still dominates the “Invershiel intersection” at the corner of NC 105 and 184.
Ritch founded the award-winning Grandfather Mountain Highlanders Pipe Band. Those affiliated with the band have called Ritch, “the forefather of piping in the South.”
In many ways, the number of pipe bands seen today in the region, and the quality of play, can be traced back to Ritch. His personal tutoring of students, and even financial support for formal training programs has benefited many pipe bands and players and fledgling highland games as well.
Funeral and memorial arrangements have not been made at this time.