Lee Albert Ridgway, 78, of Perry passed from this life on March 20, 2016. Services have been entrusted to the care of Palmer Marler Funeral Home and a memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at The Event Center in Perry on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 1:00pm. Visitation will be held on Friday, March 25 from 9am to 8pm with family greeting guests at the funeral home from 6pm to 8pm.
Lee was born on January 2, 1938 in Welch, OK to Albert Leroy and Ida May (Adams) Swafford Ridgway. He spent several of his younger years in Corwin, KS before the family relocated to Kiowa, KS where he was raised and attended school. He began working on his family farm even before he was old enough to attend school. When the family moved to Kiowa before his 3rd grade year, he picked up a paper route which he delivered before attending class. On June 8, 1955, he married the love of his life Wilma Maxine Culver from Alva, OK at the Baptist Church in Kiowa, KS.
In 1956, he began working for Broce Construction. Shortly thereafter he accepted a job as a wingman at Boeing, constructing and installing wings on the B-52 aircraft. Three years later he returned to Kiowa and worked as a mechanic for about nine months. As he watched the workers construct the new South highway leading out of Kiowa and it drew him back to his love of construction. He returned to Broce Construction where he helped build highways in Kansas, parts of the Will Rogers Turnpike and I-40 (Hwy 66) from OKC to Western Oklahoma. His family followed him on this journey.
In 1971, the family relocated to Perry, OK where Lee worked building the exits at 412 and I-35. He then spent 12 yrs working for Morrows Concrete as a truck driver. He spent the next 17 years working as a grader/blade operator, maintaining roads for Noble County. He retired from the county in 2003, but that was short lived. He returned to the construction industry, working for Jeff Frank Construction and then Gary Rogers at North Central Construction in Stillwater until his passing.
Lee had a tremendous work ethic and maintained at least one full-time job since his paper route while he also helped his brothers-in-law farming. By the time Lee was 16, his work ethic allowed Lee to own his own cars, a Mercury Convertible, a 1946 Chevrolet Hardtop and an Indian Motorcycle that he enjoyed riding.
Lee Ridgway was a simple man who enjoyed simple things. He could often be found cruising the back roads and alleys of Perry, OK acting as a “current events observer.” He was truly a jack of all trades and given a few days, he could fix anything. Lee was happiest around his family and enjoyed traveling to Alaska twice to visit his family living there. He was very proud of his grandchildren and never missed an opportunity to give them advice or teach a life lesson. Lee Ridgway touched many lives during his 78 years of life and he will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Mary Rachelle Ridgway; and granddaughter, KayLee Rochelle Ridgway. Sisters: Fern Crowl, Joyce O’Conner, Lena Burns, and Rose Yocam. Brothers: Ray Swafford, Lloyd Swafford, Carl Swafford and Guy Ridgway; nephew Jim Ridgway and wife Pat.
He is survived by his wife of almost 61 yrs, Wilma Ridgway of the home; Two sons: Tony Ridgway and wife Patricia of Breckenridge, OK and Michael Ridgway and wife Brenda of Enid, OK; a daughter Keitha Kukuk and husband Lynn of Perry, OK. Sisters: Eva Cox and Irene Vanatta. Grandchildren: Jacque Boss and husband George, Denton Ridgway, Kyle Ridgway, LaChelle Witter, Anthony Witter and wife Amy, Meliah Boyd and husband Coby, Alicia Kukuk, Fred Kukuk, Trisha Johnson, LaTrisha Jinkens and husband Matt, Kaden Ridgway
Great Grandchildren: Jacelynn Boss, Corrin Boss, Madolyn Ridgway, Lakyn Ridgway, Braydon Ridgway, Kelsey Jinkens, Kassidy Jinkens, Aaron Witter, Riley Witter, Kelbi Phillips, Bradly Kukuk, Kati Jo Kukuk, Samantha Kukuk, Christian Johnson, Heather Carey, Jacob Carey, Daniel Jeter, Taylor Witter, Heston Witter, Kohl Witter, Zain Wilson, Rhyker Wilson, Wyatt Boyd and Rylee Boyd.
He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, extended family and close friends.
Condolences may be sent to the family via an online guestbook at www.perrycares.com .