Betty L. Rankin Ridgway, 87, of Gnadenhutten passed away Saturday morning, January 4, 2020 in New Dawn Retirement Center in Dover following a brief but hard-fought illness.
Betty was born in Gnadenhutten on March 26, 1932 to the late Robert P. and Alma F. Struchen Rankin Emig. Betty’s father died when she was very young. Her upbringing was afterwards, and for most of her life, provided by her mother and stepfather, Floyd Emig. Betty graduated from Gnadenhutten High School in 1950 and went on to lead an eventful life. Betty met her late husband Donald D. Ridgway while in school. They were married on December 8, 1951 and celebrated sixty-four years together before Don’s passing on August 21, 2016. They enjoyed life together, traveling, camping, riding bikes, and playing cards with family and friends. Their pride and joy were their family and Betty and Don loved doing things with and for them. Betty served as a dispatcher for more than twenty years with the Gnadenhutten Volunteer Fire Department where Don was chief. She was an active member of the John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church in Gnadenhutten for sixty-eight years. There, Betty participated in Women’s Fellowship, the Bell Choir, the Chancel Choir, Diener Corp., served on the Board of Christian Education, taught Sunday School and Bible School, and played the piano for Sunday School and the Youth Choir. Betty enjoyed playing softball for the Tuscarawas County Slow Pitch League, where she played and pitched for nearly thirty years. In her free time, she enjoyed reading, sewing, crossword puzzles, and bicycle riding.
Betty is survived by her two daughters, Brenda Parrish of Gnadenhutten, and Barbara (Michael) Watson of Fresno, grandson Jason W. (Brenda Lee) Parrish, great-grandchildren Braxtan and Delainey Parrish, a brother John (Vicki) Emig of Kent, two sisters-in-law Susie Gram and Rose Ridgway, and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death only by her parents and husband.
Funeral services for Betty will be held on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church, 133 South Walnut Street, Gnadenhutten, with Pastor David Geyer officiating the service. Burial will follow the service in the Gnadenhutten-Clay Union Cemetery. Calling hours will be held Tuesday, January 7, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Koch Funeral Home, LLC, 244 North Walnut Street, Gnadenhutten, and one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the church at PO Box 126, Gnadenhutten, OH 44629, or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38101.
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