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Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary

7924 North 59Th Ave, Glendale, AZ

OBITUARY

James Sterling Ridge

October 29, 1936April 18, 2012

J. Sterling Ridge, Sr., former Mayor of Glendale and a three-term member of the Arizona House of Representatives, died April 18 of natural causes at his home in Glendale. Ridge left an impressive mark on Glendale and the West Valley during his years as an elected official and civic activist. He is credited, with his wife, Barbara, with spearheading the successful effort to establish Arizona State University West.

After first serving on city council, Ridge was elected Mayor of Glendale for two terms, from 1976 to 1980. As Mayor, Ridge launched the first paramedic and Dial-a-Ride programs in Arizona, and initiated numerous cooperative agreements with surrounding communities regarding police and fire protection, sewer construction, and municipal water. He also acquired property in downtown Glendale for the current city hall, and an 80-acre turn-of-the-century-homestead farther north on 59th Avenue that is now the site of the city’s Main Library and Sahuaro Ranch Park.

Together with his wife, Barbara, Ridge initiated and led a successful 12-year campaign to establish Arizona’s first new public university campus in 100 years. As a state legislator, he authored the bill to create ASU West in 1984, obtained initial capital funding for the project in 1985, 1986 and 1987, and in 1988 pushed through lease-purchase funding legislation which insured completion of the $100 million first phase of construction on the 300-acre site by 1991.

During keynote remarks he gave to the first graduating class at ASU West, Ridge spoke of his vision for the new institution.

“We here in the West Valley have an opportunity to carry this institution into the 21st Century as a university that takes into consideration the mother with young children, the working parent, the man or woman ready to make a career change, the veteran, the retiree who is not ready for pasture, and of course, the young community college graduate,” Ridge said. “I see a future with a flexible, non-typical university that will add and shape programs, including doctoral programs, to meet the rapidly expanding needs of our community.”

Ridge later went on to serve as Director of Community Relations for ASU West, where he built a role as good will ambassador, reaching out to area business, civic, and government leaders to promote the new campus as an oasis for higher education and civic activity.

A graduate of Glendale High School, Phoenix Community College and Arizona State University, Ridge began his career as a newspaper reporter for the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette. From 1960 to 1967, he served in roles as executive sports editor, assistant city editor, state editor and editorial writer for the newspapers.

Along with his time in elected office, Ridge served in a voluntary capacity in leadership positions on many local boards, including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the West Valley Cancer Society, the Central Arizona Historical Society, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, and the (ASU) Devil’s West Alumni Association.

Ridge was deeply involved in the lives of each of his children, serving as a Little League coach, president of the Glendale Elementary School (Unit 1) Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and never missing their various extra-curricular school and sports activities.

Ridge, born in Alexandria, La. in 1936, is survived by his wife, Barbara; his four children, Jennifer, Jamie, Beth and Paula; seven grandchildren; and brother, George Ridge, Jr. of Tucson.

A visitation will be held for Ridge 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 23 at First United Methodist Church of Glendale, 7102 N. 58th Drive. A private memorial service for the family will be held on Tuesday.

Services

  • Memorial Service Monday, April 23, 2012

Memories

James Sterling Ridge

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Elise Haferl-Lykins

April 25, 2012

Dear Jamie and Family,
With deepest sympathy to you and yours at this sad time. With the sharing of your father's Memory Book I now see you have followed in his footsteps with your love of government combined with helping thousands in our own Realtor Family. He must have been so proud of you!
Sincerely,
Elise Haferl-Lykins

Nancy (Lampe) Nanna

April 25, 2012

Please accept my sympathies. Sterling and I lived in the same neighborhood off Glendale Ave near 23rd Drive, we went to Washington Elementary and Glendale High School together. He wrote in my !955 Year book. "Nancy, it's wonderful to have known you over the years and I truly hope that we will see each other in college." I went to college in California and we never saw each other again. I hoped to see him last October for a reunion, but sadly I missed him. Nancy (Lampe) Nanna

Monique Imroth

April 24, 2012

Dear Jennifer,

Wishing you and your family peace, warmth and blessed memories.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight ~ Kahlil Gibran

With Love,
Therese and Monique

Sylvia (Nietsch)Keppy-Dow

April 24, 2012

Sterling graduated from Glendale Union High School in 1955, as did I. He was a leader even back then. He gave so much to the Glendale community and to the State of Arizona, as a State Senator. He had a great sense of humor and his passing brings sorrow to many.

TK's Team

April 23, 2012

Please except our sincerest condolences for you loss.

Kathy Caro

April 23, 2012

My heart goes out to you and your family during this time. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Kathy, UCSD Dept of Medicine retired

Luz Gonzalez

April 23, 2012

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. Lucy, UCSD Security.

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