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KENNETH R. RIDGWAY

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Kenneth R. Ridgway, 89, was born Jan. 27, 1923, in Curtis, Neb. He passed away July 24, 2012, in Wheaton. Ken was the son of Edna and Burr Ridgway. After growing up on the family farm, he joined the Navy in 1942; attended aviation radio school; then joined the forces in the South Pacific and saw action, including Formosa and Iwo Jima. After his discharge, Ken earned a degree in chemical engineering. He met and married Margaret Markley and they raised five daughters together in a happy home. He worked at Hanford Atomic Works in Richland, Wash. for 24 years. The family then moved to Wheaton where he took a position with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a lead investigator. Upon retirement he enjoyed his many hobbies including bridge, crafting, investing, genealogy, rock hunting, camping and traveling. He was an active volunteer at church, serving as caretaker and treasurer, and in the community as an active member and visitor scheduling chairman of Mended Hearts. Ken was a descendent of Charles Willson Peale, an early American portrait artist who painted many of our founding fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. This led to Ken's lifelong interest in American history and art. In June 2008, Ken and his brother Myron were on the inaugural flight for Honor Flight Chicago. Along with 60 other World War II veterans, they visited the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. during a day filled with honor. Ken has given informational talks and reached out to veterans to spread the word about Honor Flight Chicago. Ken was a descendent of Charles Willson Peale, an early American portrait artist who painted many of our founding fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. This led to Ken's lifelong interest in American history and art. A loving husband and father, Ken's generous and gentle nature and his strength and courage will be remembered by all who knew him. He is survived by his daughters, Janet Elaine, Barbara Lynn, Gwendolyn Ridgway Johnson (Dave) and Carolyn Marie (John); and two grandchildren, Alex and Abby Johnson. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Margaret Ridgway; his daughter, Linda Diane; and his brothers, Jim, Bob and Myron "Dick" Ridgway. A memorial visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at St. Matthew United Church of Christ, 1420 S. Gables in Wheaton. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Kenneth Ridgway's name can be directed to St. Matthews Church of Christ, 1420 South Gables Blvd., Wheaton, IL 60189 or Honor Flight Chicago, 938 West Montana St., Chicago, IL 60614. For information, call Simplicity Funeral & Cremation Care, 630-445-1439.
Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Aug. 19, 2012
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