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1931 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Deacon Willard Ridley, Jr., 86, of Petersburg, Virginia, completed his earthly journey on June 11, 2018, at Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, VA.

Deacon Ridley, was born on August 14, 1931, in Dinwiddie County to his deceased and much loved parents, Maggie (Robinson) and Willard Ridley, Sr. Deacon Ridley received his formal education at Dinwiddie Normal and Industrial School, Dinwiddie, VA.

Deacon Ridley began his early journey with Christ at Little Zion Baptist Church, Carson, VA, at the early age of 9. Deacon Ridley led and/or participated in various roles and activities in the church and the community. These included: becoming a member of the Usher Board; serving as the Church Treasurer; working with Finance Ministry, and being Chairman of the Diaconate Ministry.

In April of 1952, Deacon Ridley began active service in the United States Army where he saw combat in the Korean Conflict. During this period, he achieved promotion to the rank of Corporal. In January 1954, he was honorably discharged.

Deacon Ridley was active in the Dinwiddie Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He served as treasurer for many years.

As a sports fan, he enjoyed watching televised and/or live games of the Pittsburg Steelers, Washington Nationals, and the San Antonio Spurs. His favorite hobbies were the upkeep of his home and "dragging the road" on the street where he lived. He had a passion for visiting the sick, making phone calls and helping those in need. Later, he developed a liking for travel.

As many may remember, Deacon Ridley had a passion for motorcycles during his earlier years and held a membership with the Easy Riders motorcycle club.

Deacon Ridley's past employers included: Sheffield Moving and Storage Co., Central State Hospital; Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co.; Dinwiddie County Public School System; Bank of Southside Virginia; Joseph M. Johnson, Jr.; Medical Transportation Services; and, We Care Transportation Co.

Deacon Ridley is survived by his devoted and loving wife, Peggy S. Ridley. He is preceded in death by his former spouse, Frances Laura Rose Ridley.

Deacon Ridley is the father of: Warren(deceased); Marvin, Portsmouth, VA; Brenda Hill-Bland, Petersburg and Valencia Church (Calvin), New Castle, DE. He is the father to: Rene` Richardson, Martinez, GA; Rhonda Haskins, Santa Carita, CA; and Lt. Col. Edlyn E. Smith, Alexandria, VA.

From his union with Frances, he is blessed to have seven grandchildren, Shonika Bankole(David), Charlotte, NC; Carlton Stith, Jr., Cheltenham, PA; Mario Hill(Shaneeka) Petersburg, VA; Amirah and Adawiyah Ridley, Portsmouth, VA; Brittany Stith, Jenkintown, PA; and, Richia Bland, Petersburg, VA.

From his union with Peggy, he is grandfather to: Danielle King, Augusta, GA; Darnell King(Kimberly), San Antonio, TX; Hunter Lawson, Cookeville, TN; and Tyrese Richardson, Martinez, GA.

He is truly blessed to have ten great-grandchildren(Frances), Tyreese Dent, Philadelphia, PA; China Lawson, Philadelphia, PA; Akintayo, Yewande and Olumide Bankole, Charlotte, NC; Raiyan Kennedy, Chesapeake, VA; Trayvon, Justin, Davon and DeJuan Hill, Petersburg, VA; Gabrielle Carney, Jenkintown, PA; and Cayden and Cameron Stith, Elkins Park, PA.

Added by marriage, he was honored to have two great-grandchildren; Michael Youngblood and Kyrie Heartfield of Matinez, GA.

Lovingly, he leaves behind two sisters, Mary Hobbs(Cephas) of Richmond, VA and Blanche Moody(Lorenzo, deceased) of Petersburg, VA. Two deceased brothers, Ruben(Isadore, deceased); and James "Milas". He leaves to cherish his memory two sisters-in-law, Rebecca Ridley(wife of deceased James "Milas") of Prince George, VA and Dixie Griffin(Charlie) Stony Creek, VA and three brothers-in-law, William Rose; Jack Rose(Irene); Thomas Rose(Ruby) of Stony Creek, VA; and Edward Rose(Sallie) of McKenney, VA.

There are numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends left with many stories to tell about "Uncle Junior." Maybe you are one of them.

Special recognition is given to his buddies, Deacon Jesse Blackwell and Rev. Andrew Irvin, just to name a few. WELL, WELL, WELL!

A celebration of life will be conducted 11am Saturday, June 16, 2018, at Little Zion Baptist Church, 24603 Little Zion Road, Carson. Rev. Dr. Darren T. Brandon, Sr., officiating. Interment will follow at Dinwiddie Memorial Park. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the professional staff of the Petersburg Chapel-Joseph M. Johnson & Son Funeral Home, 530 S. Sycamore St., Petersburg. (804) 863-4411. Family and friends may view/sign the guestbook at www.johnsonservices.us.
Published in The Progress-Index from June 13 to June 15, 2018
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