Donald R. 'Duke' Ridgley
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Donald R. "Duke" Ridgley, 92, of Zelienople passed away Monday while under the care of the Good Samaritan Hospice Unit at Concordia Lutheran Ministries in Cabot.
Born May 14, 1921, in Canton, Ohio, he was the son of the late Richard and Henrietta (Foltz) Ridgley.
Duke is now with the Lord. He lived his life on Earth to the fullest. He was like the original version of "Indiana Jones."
Duke joined the Merchant mariners during World War II, where he proudly served on these four vessels, the Thomas Pinckney, the Black Hawk, the James I McKay and the Omar E. Chapman, and he visited many countries in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. He sailed on two ships that were later torpedoed by German U-boats. He made lasting friendships wherever he traveled in the world and was always respectful and considerate of others.
Duke moved his family to Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1960, where he remodeled a hotel and opened a supper club with his brother, Dick Ridgley. Ridgley's nightclub was famous for good food and the best entertainment on the island. Duke and Dick hosted many celebrities and movie stars at the club, including Aristotle Onassis, Harvey Firestone, Lucille Ball, Vivien Leigh, Debbie Reynolds and Frankie Lane.
Duke decided to move his family back to Pennsylvania because he loved the communities and people of Beaver Falls and Zelienople. He re-established his plumbing business and often did gratis work for those facing hard times. He later joined Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 115 and Local 47, where he was a member for more than 40 years.
He will be greatly missed by his devoted family and wonderful friends. He will be remembered for his kindness, adventurous spirit and most of all, his caring heart for others. God bless Dad and as the captain said on the bridge of your Liberty Ship in the North Atlantic in 1943, "Steady as she goes, Duke."
He is survived by his son, Donald R. Ridgley and his wife, Linda, of Harmony; his daughter, Debra A. Ridgley and her companion, Gary Krupowicz, of Jackson Township; his six grandchildren, Stacy Rader, who he raised much like his own daughter, Joe Ridgley, Donald Ridgley Jr., Ronald Ridgley, Mark Ridgley and Kristie (Ridgley) Sterling; and his nine great-grandchildren, Austin, Shanna, Logan, Nash, Mason, Caleb, Abby, Courtney and Ivy.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Dick and Wayne Ridgley, and his four sisters, Henrietta, Viales, Mildred and Golda.
Ridgley - A memorial service for Donald R. "Duke" Ridgley, who passed away Monday, July 22, 2013, will be celebrated later at the First Christian Church in Ellwood City.
Entombment was held at Pinewood Memorial Gardens Mausoleum in Cranberry Township.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Boylan Funeral Home, 324 E. Grandview Ave., Zelienople.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his honor in support of the First Christian Church, 110 Ada Drive, Ellwood City, PA 16117.
Expressions of sympathy may be shared with Duke's family at www.boylanfuneralhome.com.
Boylan Funeral Home
324 E. Grandview Ave
Zelienople, PA 16063
Published in Butler Eagle on July 25, 2013