Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Roger Ridley (Pat to many) would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was warm, genuine, and loyal, which made him the sort of person everyone wanted to know. Roger was deeply devoted to his loved ones. Although he worked hard, he made the time to enjoy life along the way. No matter what came his way, Roger took it all in stride. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The Roaring Twenties were an exciting time in America. Innovation gave way to refrigerators, washing machines, and motion pictures that were available in both color and sound-none of which Roger could afford but loved life anyway. Born in Westbrook, Maine, on May 9, 1925, Roger was the son of Albert and Alice. He was one of five as his siblings included Phil, Ruth, Loretta, and Paul. Paul sadly died at a very young age. Roger grew up fast as he spent a few years in a Catholic orphanage. He learned quickly he had to be strong and stand up for himself and his brother, Phil, and sister, Ruth. On one occasion, a nun actually pulled the wrong tooth with pliers, but the best days were day old donut days because Roger was in charge and always got a donut-needless to say. Roger made best friends with the “keeper of the poor,” Mrs. Hammershaw, and she always gave Roger jobs and extra things for his family because he always worked hard for her and did any odd jobs that she needed done, he even would drag his brother Phil along to work also.
As a teen, Roger continued to be one to take life into his own hands. He took his older brother’s social security card so he could get a job at the cotton mill when he was only 14. When he turned 16, Roger went to his boss and told him the truth with an apology, also asked for a raise. He was so proud of his job there and the fact that he made more than his much older uncle, Luigi. Roger went to school all day and then worked every night to provide for his mother and siblings.
After finishing high school, Roger was ready to hit the ground running. From the time he was young, he worked hard in everything he did. When he was only six, Roger started working when he would buy and make popcorn to sell at the game, making only pennies as profit. In his entire lifetime, he only bought one item on credit/layaway — a gold and black onyx ring. When he had paid 60% off, they surprisingly let him take the ring! Roger thought he had won the lottery! Roger continued to work hard throughout his life, and he was one of the youngest supervisors ever. He was well loved even though he was the boss as he was authoritative but fair.
There was no greater gift in Roger’s life than his loved ones. Even though he worked a lot he was there for ball games, hunting, fishing, swim meets, and whatever else his kids were a part of. Roger’s second wife had four children, and he loved and raised them as his own. Together they were an amazing family. Roger even built a mother-in-law apartment above the garage for his amazing mother-in-law, Melissa, whom he cherished. It was in 1990 that Roger met his soul mate, Bev, whom he called his “favorite girl,” and they lived right next door to one another. They loved doing everything together including traveling, camping, adventures, and winters spent at their “camp” in Sarasota, Florida. Roger made some of his closest lifelong friends at the Venetian Estates including his best buddy, Cal. They had many great times together along with Joan, Maryel, Kluge, Rose, Paul, Chuck, and Barbara and so many more. Roger and Bev enjoyed their winters in Florida, but they also looked forward to coming home to their home on O Avenue in the summer.
Later in life Roger was thrilled to become a grandfather, loving nothing more than spending time with them. He loved watching Jessica and Allison run up and down the driveway on their garage sale scooters or enjoyed tossing a ball back and forth together. He never grew tired of watching Jessica bargain down a price, just like he taught her, at the never-ending garage sales. His claim to fame was that he always beat everyone at Sorry, always. And the highlight of any day was having Renee, Julie, Amy and Mandy affectionately call him “Grumps.”
Always one to be busy, Roger was a man of many interests. He enjoyed fishing and hunting, especially with his son, Guy. Memories from Grayling were his fondest! Roger even went bear hunting in Canada with his great friends from Georgia Pacific! He loved “Bucksnort” with Dale, Skip, and the boys. During his younger days, Roger enjoyed bowling and excelled at it even though he had never bowled a day in his life with a ball with holes, Maine’s didn’t have holes back then. He actually won the All City Tournament and was told that if they found record that he had played in the area before they would strip him of the title, needless to say he had never played before-he was just that good! Truly an extraordinary guy, he was quick to remind those around him of the importance of doing the right thing since you always have to wake up and look at yourself in the mirror every morning.
Genuine, loving, and accepting of everyone, Roger Ridley, or Pat to many, blessed the lives of so many others. He was there for anyone whether it was to lend a helping hand or to be a shoulder to cry on. Roger told the best jokes, and his love for life was contagious to all who were near. Deeply devoted to his friends and loved ones, he was selfless in everything he did. Dearly loved, he will be forever missed.
Roger Ridley of Kalamazoo, MI, passed away on October 19, 2018 at the age of 93. Roger is survived by his children: Guy (Babs) Ridley of Arizona and Colleen Coyle of Illinois; brother: Phil (Beverly) Ridley of Maine; and grandchildren: Jessica, Allison, Julie, and Renee. Roger is preceded in death by his parents; lifetime companion: Beverly Grimm; and sisters: Ruth and Loretta. A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, November 17 from 3 - 6 p.m. at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main St. Vicksburg, MI 49097 (269-649-1697). Please visit Roger’s page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can archive a photo, share a memory and sign the guestbook. The family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, 409 S. Main St. Vicksburg, MI 49097 (269-649-1697).