SOUTH HADLEY -- Esther P. (Hoover) Ridgway, passed away July 15, 2022 at Baystate Medical Center after a short illness. She was 95.
Born March 22, 1927 in Twin Rocks, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of Ervin and Bessie (Blickenderfer) Hoover. Esther attended nursing school and upon graduation, she worked at a military hospital where fate would intervene and she met Donald L. Ridgway who was a patient there. After a whirlwind courtship, Esther and Donald married six weeks later, and enjoyed 58 years of marriage until his death in 2016.
As the wife of a career military officer, she and their growing family which came to include Jane, Donna, Leon and Carolyn, were posted in many places, including for a short time in Athens, Greece, before being stationed for several years in Delaware at its Dover U.S. Air Force Base and ultimately moving to Westover Air Force Base in 1970 and settling in South Hadley.
Esther was an accomplished homemaker; she loved cooking, baking and canning the harvest from each year’s summer garden. She became a quality seamstress making many clothing items for her family including sewing intricate and beautiful bridesmaid dresses. She also enjoyed painting china and many of her pieces are held as valuable keepsakes.
Esther was an avid reader enjoying cooking and inspirational books. Religion was an important part of her life, and Esther and Donald were life deacons at the Second Baptist Church in South Hadley.
Esther treasured the time spent at the family’s hunting cabin in Maine with her husband, taking all of their grandchildren there for memorable vacations for many years.
Through it all Esther was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother cherishing each minute she spent with her large family and making each addition to the family feel valued and adored. Esther took care of each of her grandchildren when they were young and her home was always the gathering place for all holidays, celebrations and family get-togethers.
Esther was loved by many. She was predeceased by her husband, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Donald L. Ridgway, her parents, three brothers and three sisters. She is survived by her children, Jane Ridgway Joslyn of Granby; Donna Ridgway Skibel and husband William of Belchertown; Leon Alan Ridgway and wife Sharon of Montgomery; and Carolyn Staples and husband Robert of Chicopee, her seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren, her beloved sister, Betty Mazzoli of New Jersey and her best friend Janeth Shaw of Granby.
Beers & Story South Hadley Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements and a memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 23 at the Second Baptist Church in South Hadley. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Karol Anne Shaw Scholarship Fund, c/o Second Baptist Church, 589 Granby Road, South Hadley, MA 01075.