James Ridley’s 97 years of life celebrated

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To the Editor:

James Edward Ridley was “a man’s man” whose life was celebrated on Saturday, June 18. It was indeed a worshipful experience.

Under the watchful eye of Dr. Samuel Vaughan and the deliverer of the message, Bishop Stephan Adams, James Ridley was remembered and his life celebrated for his 97 years of service to his family, church, customers and friends.

Those who participated, such as the New Mount Zion Deaconess Board, members of the Antioch-Franklin Eastern Star 289, Deacons and members of the Franklin Star Lodge 288, and the many ministers who spoke, attested to the impact James Ridley had on his community.

According to his third cousin and minister of Morning Star Baptist Church in Capron, from which James came, James was an “unclely” kind of man who endeared himself to others and was looked up to as that “uncle” kind of man.

Through James’ 97 years, he endeared himself to so many of us across the city and the county. For his devotion to his church, the fellowship hall at New Mount Zion bears his name, The James E. Ridley Fellowship Hall, a fitting tribute for years of service in almost everyday capacity in his church, which he loved second only to his family.

The observation that touched me most was the wonderful feelings I had when I entered the church for James’ celebration of life. So many people and friends whom we see day to day were gathered in a different environment of worship and reverence.

Some wore the Masonic attire; others were representing important spiritual organizations, which meant so much to them and James.

What great quality men and women make up our community and serve very quietly in so many ways.

What a warm and inclusive feeling existed as we were all drawn to a common place, with a common purpose, and common desire to honor a friend, associate, church and family patriarch. It was truly a spiritual experience being together.

Thank you, James Edward Ridley, for a life well lived and bringing us all together to honor you. May we all be better for that day and your example.

James P. Councill
Franklin mayor