BAMBERG -- Mrs. Betty Jane Shields Ridge passed away on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, in her hometown of Bamberg. True to her continued spirit in living life to its fullest, she had just finished getting her hair styled as she did every Friday for years. Mrs. Ridge was the beloved wife and widow of Albert Hailey Ridge. She is survived by her three children, Mike Ridge and spouse Wilma, and Pam Ridge Moran, and spouse Jon, Tim Ridge and spouse Linda. She was the proud grandmother of six wonderful grandchildren Sandres Miller, Dawn Ridge and partner Edie Enright, Michael Ridge and spouse Shelley Ridge, Jason Moran, Jennifer Ridge Gilbert and spouse Dr. Kurt Gilbert, and Will Ridge. She also was the adoring great-grandmother of Greyson Ridge, Payton Ridge, Josh Miller, Megan Miller, Kyzer Gilbert, Haley Hershfield, and Madison Hershfield. Nothing was more important to her than her family except for her commitment to the Lord.
Betty Shields Ridge was born on Nov. 21, 1921, in Enid, Oklahoma. She grew up in the oil fields of Oklahoma and was an excellent student, athlete and musician. She began playing organ in the Baptist Church when she was just eight years old. After losing her parents at an early age, she lived with her Aunt and Uncle Clarence and Myra Walker. After graduating high school, she moved to Austin, Texas, and worked for the Bell Telephone Company until she enlisted in the United States Navy after Pearl Harbor. She went through basic training at Hunter College in New York City where she finished at the top of her class and was selected to train in a specialty school at Miami University of Ohio. It was here that she met Albert Ridge who also was enlisted in the Navy. Mrs. Ridge was based after training at Fort Ward, Bainbridge Island in Washington State where she worked in Naval Intelligence for the duration of War World II. She was awarded a medal for her service in this role from the Secretary of the Navy but was unable to share exactly what she did as a Navy Wave until the information was declassified in 1995. Mrs. Ridge considered her World War II service as the most important work she ever did and once said, “it was a time when what we accomplished as a nation was far greater than anything we accomplished as individuals.”
She married Albert Ridge in Seattle, Washington, and they subsequently moved to his family home in Bamberg, where they raised their family and lived for the remainder of their lives. She worked early on at the Bamberg County Hospital and eventually at the Bamberg County Courthouse where she retired. She was also known as “The Avon Lady” for years in town. Mrs. Ridge, like her husband, was an athlete who was known as an excellent golfer. She was most proud of making a hole in one at PawPaw Golf Club and played weekly for years with her golf friends and her husband. She was still able to play a few holes of golf at age eighty-six. A few weeks ago she went to The Venue – Top Golf and putted with her granddaughter and family which she loved.
Mrs. Ridge was a committed churchgoer attending the Trinity United Methodist Church for 61 years until she joined the First Baptist Church in Bamberg a year and a half ago. She was baptized in the Baptist Church in Oklahoma with several other family members. When she rejoined the Baptist Church she stated, “Now, I'm home.” She loved to garden, bake, and watch the golf channel. In recent years, she lived with her beloved son Michael Ridge and his wife Wilma in Bamberg. She became known for her service in the Navy and most recently has been recognized in numerous ceremonies in Columbia and Bamberg celebrating her service. Last year, she was honored at the U.S. Naval Reserve at Fort Jackson in Columbia on the Navy's 242nd birthday. She will be missed.
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The family will receive visitors at Bamberg First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church in Bamberg at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 11823 Heritage Hwy. Bamberg, SC, 29003. Interment to follow at Bamberg County Memory Gardens. She will have full military honors with along with an escort by the Patriot Guard Riders.
Memorials can be made to Bamberg First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 355, Bamberg, SC 29003.
Cooner Funeral Home, LLC (www.coonerfuneralhome.com) 287 McGee St., Bamberg, SC 29003 is assisting the family with arrangements.