Richard Lee Ridgway, 84, died on February 13, 2020 in Flower Mound, Texas surrounded by his family. He was the son of the late Allie (Hamilton) and Weldon Ridgway.
Richard grew up on his family’s cotton farm in Brownfield, Texas and was valedictorian of Brownfield High School’s Class of 1953. He was married to the love of his life, Donna (Newsom) Ridgway, in 1957 and was married for 62 years. He received a BS in agronomy from Texas Tech University in 1957 and earned his MS and Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University in 1959 and 1960.
He began his professional career with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and later served on the graduate faculty at Texas A&M University. He served in research and leadership positions with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service inCollege Station, Texas and Beltsville, Maryland from 1963 to 1997. He made scientific contributions to biological insect controls, regulation of pesticide, and pest management. He forged USDA’s policy that led to the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. Richard was instrumental in the creation of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation whose purpose is to enhance agriculture through scientific knowledge. He served the organization for nearly 40 years.
Richard was devoted to his Texas Tech Red Raiders.In 2012, he received the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award for Public Service. His passion for West Texas led him to create Hamilton Park, named after his grandfather who settled in Terry County in 1902. The educational park explores the rich history and future hope for the Plains of West Texas. Richard dearly loved his family, church, traveling and playing with his grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Gene Ridgway.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Susan Ridgway Esposito and her husband Raymond and Sharon Ridgway Mankin and her husband Dwight, grandchildren Blake Mankin (Meagan), Emily Mankin Baxter (William), Austin Mankin (Kirby), Amy Esposito and Eric Esposito, and great-grandchildren Rivers and Baker Mankin, Hadley Baxter, and Harvey Mankin, sister-in-law Barbara (Newsom) Paddackand nieces and nephews Jay Paddack (Angie), Laura Paddack Childs (Andrew), Danny Ridgway (Ursula), Lynna Ridgway McFarland (Dan) and a great niece and several great nephews. Services will be held at the Flower Mound United Methodist Church on Monday, February 17th at 11:00am.Private burial in Brownfield, Texas.In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Flower Mound United Methodist Church, 3950 Bruton Orand Blvd, Flower Mound, Texas 75022.