Friday, May 5th, 2023 at 7:12 pm #13461John DeRosaParticipant
The father of Ron Ridenour, Neil Ridenour, passed away last month. Neil, if you ever met him, was
There will be a service tomorrow Saturday May 6th at 10:30 at the Calvary Church in Naperville, 9S200 Ill Rte 59 (just south of 75th St). I plan on attending to represent Sky Soaring. Neil’s obituary is below.
Neal Ridenour, pilot, father, grandfather, great grandfather, husband, fisherman, airplane mechanic, builder, Jack of all trades, and consummate gentleman passed away on April 18th, 2023 after living an extraordinary life.
Born October 3, 1927 in Akron, Ohio to Bart Ridenour and Edith Katherine Spickard, his mother passed away from tuberculosis when he was only five. As a result, he lived several years in a TB institute where he learned to love the outdoors in all seasons. When his father married Elva Ramsey, Neal returned to the family home. His father was one of the original house flippers and Neal learned many building trades from him. Electrical, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, he became accomplished in all. This proficiency served him well as he built his first two houses from Liberty Homes kits and even hand dug the foundation of the first.
Neal joined the Army Signal Corp in 1944 and in preparation for a job building roads and runways, was enrolled West Virginia Technical College. When the war ended, he returned to Akron and opened a dry cleaning business. Additionally, he worked as a steam cannon operator for Quaker foods and as a bike mechanic. In his “spare” time, after working his three jobs, he took flying lessons and earned his Airframe and Engine Mechanics license. When he married Geraldine Thomas in 1950, he was well along in earning his pilot certifications. He saw an advertisement in Trade-A-Plane for pilots for United Airlines and applied. He was hired shortly after, sent to instrument flight school and at the age of 23 began a 36 year career at United Air Lines and retired as a captain on the 747. During his career, he flew the DC3, DC4, DC6, DC7, Convair 340, B-727, DC10 and B-747.
Neal’s hobbies were numerous. He owned a seaplane and for many years flew into remote lakes in Canada and Alaska for fishing trips. He volunteered as an Scout Master for an Aviation Explorer Post and later in life spent 35 years as a member of the Downers Grove Square Thru’s. However, the hobby Neal was most devoted to was Soaring. He was instrumental in the development of the Chicago Glider Club in Channahon, Illinois, earned the FAI Gold Badge with 3 Diamonds #35 and competed for 50 years as a contest pilot, he built his own sailplane and flew it to a third place finish in the National Soaring Competition in 1968. He served as President and Board Member Emeritus of the Chicago Glider Club and was awarded the honor of being named Life Member #1. Neal also spent many years as a board member of the Brookeridge Aero Estates where he was instrumental in the development of the residential air park where he lived for 50 years.
Neal is survived by his loving wife, Marianne, and his devoted children, Ron (Dria) and Cheryl (Craig). Also, his adored grandchildren, Neal Robert (Allison) Ridenour, Elizabeth (Kevin) Traeger, Jason (Kelly) Allind and Kevin (Veronica) Allind as well as his beloved great grand children, Ben, Emmy, Abby, Molly, Theo, Will, Amelia and Astraya. His brother Harold Ridenour also survives him. Neal was preceded in death by his loving wife of 54 years, Gerry and his sister, Ruth LeMaster.
Above all, Neal was a gentle man who treated others kindly and with respect as he traveled through his long life.
In lieu of flowers please donate in Neal’s name to the Soaring Society of America at ssa.org or Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org
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