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April 24, 2014

Marlow residents reflect on council member Ridley

MARLOW — A void remains on the Marlow City Council following the death of Councilman Don Ridley.

Ridley, 76, who died Monday in an Oklahoma City hospital, put service to the Marlow community ahead of his own health, his friends say.

Ridley served on the council from May 1989 to April 1995. He returned to office May 2004 and was still serving his community when he died.

“He was just always fun to be around,” former Marlow mayor Bob Hill said. “We laughed a lot. It will be hard to fill his shoes.”

Hill noted Ridley had been in poor health for a couple of years, but chose not to resign from the council because he enjoyed serving Marlow. Jason McPherson, Marlow city administrator, said Ridley took a turn for the worse during March and was hospitalized from that time forward.

McPherson said Ridley was doing better Sunday. That changed Monday, when that boost of energy ran out. Ridley died midway through the day.

“He really cared about this city,” McPherson said. “Even when he got sick before we appointed a new mayor, he wanted to be there. He said it was important that he be there. He really had a heart for this town.”

Ridley might have been known best for moving council meetings along. He wasn’t one for wasting time revisiting the same discussions. Instead, he was likely to be the councilman moving an item to vote.

Hill said it didn’t matter how Ridley voted because he was always respectful of the votes of others.

“We didn’t always vote the same, but we were still friends,” Hill said.

He said Ridley wasn’t one to sit on the sidelines as important decisions were made. Instead, he wanted to continue his service to the community.

“He was 100 percent for Marlow,” Hill said.

McPherson became acquainted with Ridley shortly after McPherson started working at a Marlow bank. McPherson, who has lived in Marlow his entire life, worked for a bank in Duncan for a while.

He returned to working in Marlow about the time Ridley returned to the Marlow City Council in 2004. Over the course of the next 10 years, he got to know how important Marlow was to Ridley.

“You care who’s on your council when you live in a smaller town,” McPherson said. “He was always great to me. I appreciated his work ethic.”

Funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Glory Bound Church. The Rev. David Woods and the Rev. Jerry Couch will officiate.

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