Clara Lee “Pud” Cook Ridgway, 97, of Pine Bluff, died Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Trinity Village Medical Center.
She was born October 16, 1916, in Lincoln County, the eldest child of the late Elijah and Lottie Raley Cook. After the death of her mother, she was raised by her grandparents, the late Jess and Tennie Raley near Feenieville. She attended schools in Pine Bluff and Glendale, graduating as one of four members of the Glendale High School Class of 1936. She was the first of her grandparents’ children or grandchildren to graduate from high school.
Like her mother before her, she was the eldest of her siblings, becoming the second link in a matriarchal chain spanning six generations, so far.
She married Norman Lynn Ridgway on June 19, 1936. He died January 4, 1973. Mrs. Ridgway was a member of Northside Baptist Church in White Hall.
Sewing skills developed in childhood served her well as a housewife, mother and professional seamstress when her husband became ill. She started working at The Drape Shop, later moving to the alterations department at J.C. Penney’s. She worked there until the company retired her at age 65, then moved to the alterations department at Dillard’s Department Store. When her replacement at Penney’s left town a year later, she returned to Penney’s until her department was eliminated in 2002. She also did alterations from her home.
She thoroughly enjoyed her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family. She was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling, laughter, working crossword puzzles, and various handicrafts. She also took pleasure playing tennis during her school days. Any potluck at Penney’s had a standing request for her coconut cream pie.
Mrs. Ridgway moved to Trinity Village Medical Center on April 1, 2010, and developed a fondness for bingo.
She was also preceded in death by a daughter, Barbara McIntire; two brothers, Steve Cook and Aaron Cook; and three sisters, Lorene Nolan and infants Elvie Orene Cook and Vera Catherine Cook.
Survivors include two sons, Jerry Ridgway of Cabot and Dale Ridgway of Pine Bluff; daughter, Norma Harper Ray (Bill) of Pine Bluff; sister, Eva May Clayton of Moultrie, Georgia; six grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; and eleven great-great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in the Chapel of Ralph Robinson & Son with Reverend Steve Cook officiating. Burial will follow in Shady Grove Cemetery at Glendale. Visitation will be Tuesday evening from 5-7 p.m. at Robinson’s.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to National MS Society, PO Box 4527, New York, New York 10163; Arkansas Hospice, 201 Frankie Lane, White Hall, Ark. 71602; or Family Counsel of Trinity Village Medical Center, 6400 Trinity Drive, Pine Bluff, Ark.71603.
Online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com