Ritchie Navigation Owner Paul Sherman Has Died

Sherman was respected throughout the industry and beloved by his employees.

Paul Frederick Sherman, owner of Ritchie Navigation, passed away peacefully on March 20 at the age of 81, followed by his wife of 55 years, Joan, on April 4. Sherman led the Pembroke, Massachusetts-based company from 1966 through 2020. His son and current company president, Jon Sherman, shared the sad announcement.

A Creative Foundation

An accomplished craftsman, Paul Sherman was renowned for his ability to comprehend, modify and repair mechanical devices. He used these skills to help Ritchie increase the performance and longevity of its compasses. Later, he guided the introduction of many new design ideas and products that are still in production. Even after retirement, he continued to tinker in the manufacturing shop and be with his "Ritchie family", as he referred to the company's many employees. Sherman is a descendent of Edward Samuel Ritchie who founded the company in 1850.


Ritchie is best known for its compasses and navigation equipment.


Sherman was happiest surrounded by his wife Joan, children and many grandchildren. An avid boater, RVer, golfer and pilot, he relished his summers in Brooklin, Maine and winters in Naples, Florida.

"Paul guided Ritchie to become the company it is today, with a richly deserved reputation within the marine industry and boating public," said Jon Sherman. "But most of all he was a well-liked family man who touched the lives of many by his thoughtful words and actions. He will be greatly missed. As much of a blow it was to lose them both so quickly, we agree that it is more of Paul doing things his way. Those who knew him will understand that trait of his." 

For more than 160 years, Ritchie Navigation has guided generations of professional mariners and recreational boaters across virtually every navigable waterway. The company manufactures in the USA a wide range of compasses and related accessories.