age 93, passed away on November 1, 2014, at his home in Dickinson, Texas. He was born October 21, 1921 in Roswell, New Mexico and graduated from Gladewater High School in 1939. He attended Kilgore Junior College for several years after high school completing his basic studies.
After World War II broke out, Ridgley joined the Navy in 1941 and entered flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas where he earned his wings. Just after this, he would marry the love of his life, JoAnn Carlton. With the war effort requiring his presence, he was then assigned to the carriers U.S.S. Franklin and later the U.S.S. Yorktown to fly the SBD Douglas Dauntless dive-bomber as a part of Bombing Squadron Five (VB-5) in the Pacific. He would earn the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal and two Air Medals for his heroic achievements as a pilot. He was discharged from the Navy as Lieutenant Commander in July 1947. Over the next 50 years, he and JoAnn would very much enjoy their association with other retired military personnel at the “Squadron Reunions” held all across the United States.
Ridge, as he was called by his friends, would reenter college after the war at Southern Methodist University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Radio Television. He finished his training at the New York School of Broadcasting where he learned the practical aspects of television direction and production. After graduation, he was hired by WFAA in Dallas as a television director. He would later accept the position of Production Manager at KPRC in Houston and later still the same position at KHFI in Austin. It was during these time periods that he and JoAnn would raise their family as loving parents. Ridge had a special place in his heart for his family and enjoyed activities together such as sports, carpentry, traveling and church. He had a love for coaching little league football where he used motivation and hard work as a coaching technique to develop an almost undefeated record. He had a special love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved to talk about them with anyone that would listen. He was a member of the Clear Lake Masonic Lodge No. 1417 and was very proud of his association with this service organization and its members who befriended him in the later years of life. He was very active in the Methodist Church as a church trustee, stewardship committees, usher and various mission projects. His relationship with our savior Jesus Christ was a close one which gave him a great deal of joy and comfort during his lifetime and in his final days. His family will remember him as a loving husband, father and grandfather who had a kind and gentle soul with a good sense of humor and a joy for helping others.
Ridge is survived by JoAnn, his loving wife of 67 years; by his brother, Hugh Radney and his wife Keechie Radney; by his son, Larry Radney and his wife Lou Radney; his grandchildren, Travis Radney, Erin Radney and her husband, Ben Gaete; Derek Radney and his wife, Sally; Kenneth Priesmeyer and Logan Shannon; his great-grandchildren, Evelyn Radney, Calvin Radney, Owen Gaete and Rhett Gaete. He is preceded in death by his parents; James Pearson Radney and Lola White Radney; by his son, James Radney; by his daughter, Kelly Radney.
The Radney family wishes to extend their gratitude to pastors, Tony McCollum and Paula Kirby, many members of Seabrook United Methodist church and caregivers, AnnMarie and Jeri for all their prayers and support.
A Life Celebration Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at Crowder Funeral Home, Webster, Texas. A private family burial service will be held in Austin on Veteran’s Day November 11, 2014. Any desired donations can be made to the Building Fund at Seabrook United Methodist Church, 3300 Lakeside Drive, Seabrook, Texas 77586.