John Lester Ridgeway, Sr., 87, died peacefully at his home on West Cranberry Lane in Greenville on August 21, 2012. A native of Laurens, he was born on July 9, 1925. He was the son of C.A. and Virginia Ridgeway. After graduation from Laurens High in 1942, his attendance at Clemson University was paused by his service in the U.S. Navy during WWII at Adak, Alaska. He was graduated from Clemson in 1948 with a degree in chemistry from Clemson University and spent most of his career as a formulations chemist for Eli Lilly and Company, patenting innovations still being used today that increase the yield of agricultural crops. He retired from Lilly in 1990.
He was an avid outdoorsman who will long be remembered for the thousands of lives he touched through more than 50 years of service to the Boy Scouts of America. He was a scoutmaster for over thirty years and was awarded every major recognition a scout leader can receive, including the Crossroads of America (Indianapolis) District Award of Merit, the Scoutmaster Award of Merit from the National Eagle Scout Foundation, the Outstanding Service to Scouting Award, and the 50-Year Sustained Membership Award. He was also awarded scouting’s highest recognition, the Silver Beaver Award. More recently here in Greenville, he was named Commissioner of the Year and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Reedy Falls District in 1997.
He was a lifelong tennis player; an avid reader of historical and scientific works; had a passion for photography, producing many nature studies from expeditions to New Mexico and other western states. He used his interest in photography to document neighborhood children’s Halloween costumes, church and scouting events as an active member of Old Bethel United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, IN as well as Westminster Presbyterian Church upon moving to Greenville.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dr. Ina Campbell Ridgeway, as well as by his four children: Virginia R. Moore and her husband Shawn of Brookfield, MO; Nancy R. Johnson and her husband Steve of Greenville; John L. Ridgeway, Jr. of Las Vegas, NV; and Dr. Calvin Allen Ridgeway and his wife, Dr. Jennifer S. Ridgeway of Albuquerque, NM. He also is survived by eleven grandchildren: Alex and CTMSN John-Allen Moore, USN; Laura Caroline, Sarah, and Allison Johnson; Brian, Charles, and Paul Ridgeway; Lucas, Grace, and Calvin Ridgeway. He also is survived by ten great grandchildren.
A service of celebration of his life and resurrection will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2310 Augusta Street in Greenville, SC on Saturday, August 25th at 3:00pm. The family will receive friends in the atrium of the sanctuary following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts (1 Park Plaza, Greenville, SC 29607) or to the Crossroads of America Council of the Boy Scouts (7125 Fall Creek Road North, Indianapolis, IN 46256).
Page 2 of 2 - Thomas McAfee Funeral Home Downtown Greenville is in charge of arrangements.