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Michael Ridings

1951 - 2019
Michael Ridings Obituary
RIDINGS, Michael Our beloved Mike left us unexpectedly on November 5, 2019. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. We will forever miss the joyous spirit and sense of fun that he brought to the world. Mike was born in Mercedes, Texas on April 15, 1951 to Walton and Olivia Ridings. He grew up in a loving home in Harlingen, Texas where he was active in Boy Scouts (Life Scout), sports and church. Mike learned the value of hard work early on, helping his Dad run the family store and supporting himself through school. He earned his BBA from UT Austin (1978) and remained a loyal Longhorn. In 1982 Mike married his soulmate Kathleen Kole. They settled in Austin to pursue their careers his in business, hers in social work. Theirs was a happy home where the Ridings/Koles hosted many large family gatherings. Son, John Michael arrived in 1984. John and Mike's shared enthusiasm for sports ranged from triathlons to golf, USTA tennis tournaments, and of course baseball. Mike's passion for coaching baseball continued to the end of his life, culminating with his grandson's Pinto League team, the Dragons. He had a knack for connecting with kids and was known on the Manchaca Optimist ball fields as "Big Chief". The highlight of Mike's professional career was his 20-year tenure at Dell Computer where he made many valued friendships and received numerous recognitions i.e, the recent trip to Hawaii which he and Kathy thoroughly enjoyed. His career success in sales was based on the values of old-fashioned customer service that he learned working for his Dad. In 2009, '11 and '16 the Ridings grandchildren (Emily Olivia, John Michael Jr., and Caroline Grace) burst onto the scene becoming the apple of their "Pa Pa's" eye. Mike adored being a grandfather. He turned the house into a playland for kids. His Christmas trees, electric trains, and outdoor lights were legendary. After his surprise bypass surgery in 2018, he took up landscaping as a hobby. He loved to create natural habitats for his birds/butterflies and shared this beauty with his grandchildren. The morning after he died the yard was filled with birds who seemed to have come to say goodbye. Mike was a person of extraordinary gifts. He had everything except the gift of time. Amazingly, he was able to save four lives in the end thru his gift of organ donation. Left to cherish his memory are wife Kathy, son John Ridings (Ashleigh), grands Emily, JR, Caroline, and (due in December) Jackson Ridings; sisters Evelyn Caldwell (Robin), Lori Kratzer; brother Walt Ridings ( Nancy); extended family Sara Caldwell; Michelle (Peter) Barend & family; Melanie (Mark), Maren Cazier; Jessica, Sadie, Vivian Wood; Ashley, Shawn, Edward Kratzer; Kathryn Ridings; Richard, Donna, Rick, Nancy (Kevin), Lincoln (Kellee), Marlin Kole; Susan (Mike) Austin, Kaitlyn Siegel. The family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support from friends and coworkers. Special thanks to The Organ Sharing Alliance for the "Walk of Honor". A Celebration of Mike's Life will be held at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, 78739, on Saturday, December 7, at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Mikes name to The Salvation Army of Austin. SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Nov. 24, 2019
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