Obituary: James W. Ridgway

James W. Ridgway. Courtesy of Colonial Funeral Chapel
James W. Ridgway. Courtesy of Colonial Funeral Chapel

James W. Ridgway, of Leesburg, VA, passed away at Inova Loudoun Hospital on Dec. 31, 2013. He was born in Roanoke, VA, on Jan. 22, 1924, to Icy Love Doran Ridgway and Ballard James Ridgway.

At the age of 17, he moved to a farm in Roanoke County. After graduating from high school, he lived in Baltimore, MD, and worked for the B&O Railroad.

In February of 1943, he was inducted into the U.S. Army, and spent nearly three years in the South Pacific, mainly in Saipan where he was part of the task force that captured Saipan from the Japanese.

After being discharged from the Army in 1945, James attended the University of Kentucky. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He completed graduate work in maritime engineering ad naval architecture at George Washington University and other schools. He was a member of the Triangle Fraternity.

He accepted a position in Pennsylvania with Milprint Inc. as Assistant Plant Manager.

He married Ernestine Alfonsi, of Baltimore, MD, on Dec. 31, 1946. They have enjoyed 67 years of happy marriage. He was recalled to military service in 1950 during the Korean War.  In all, James served in three wars. He served in a civilian capacity in the Vietnam War.

James then pursued a career the Central Intelligence Agency, from which he retired in 1974. He was a specialist in maritime and tunneling operations. He received a number of commendations during his career with the CIA.

He was a member of the Lions Club, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church for 35 years.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ernestine (Ernie) Ridgway, and two children: daughter Patricia Groff (Chip) and son James W. Ridgway Jr.; two grandchildren: Shannon Groff (Todd) and Alexander Groff (Meredith); and one great grandson: Lachlan. He was predeceased by his parents and three brothers: Robert, Jack and Dan Ridgway.

Family and friends are invited to a visitation from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, at Colonial Funeral Home, 201 Edwards Ferry Rd NE, in Leesburg. Mass of Christian Burial to begin at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, in Leesburg, VA (at the corner of North King Street and Union Street). Interment will take place immediately following the Mass at St. John Catholic Cemetery.

Leave condolences at www.colonialfuneralhome.com


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