Kenneth Ridge, 85

Kenneth E. Ridge, 85, of St. Paul, passed away peacefully on December 31, 2023. Ken was born March 7, 1938, in Hagerstown, IN to Dameth and Leona (Warren) Ridge. After spending his childhood years there, living next door to his lifelong best friend, Phil Rowe, he attended Fulton High School in Michigan. He graduated in 1956 along with lifelong buddies Dave Upton, AJ Underwood, and cousin/partner-in-shenanigans Gordy Warren, who all survive. He married Kay Bolyard, who survives along with her current husband, Jerry Hesselink, and together they had two children, Kim (Ted Holland) Brickens and Kris (Mindy) Ridge.

In 1960, Ken enlisted in the US Army and became a paratrooper with Ranger and Recondo qualifications in the 101st Airborne Division, serving overseas during the pre-Vietnam era. He then completed IBM computer school, becoming a pioneer in the early years of computer technology. He traveled all over the country, but his favorite project was helping to develop IndyCar computer telemetry for Al Unser’s racing team. In addition to his love of travel and sports, he loved the great outdoors; boating, camping, snowmobiling, flying small planes, and spending time on his beloved Drummond Island in Michigan’s UP with family and good friends. But most of all, he loved his family. His day wasn’t complete unless he got to joke and visit with his kids or grandkids, laugh and play with his great-grandkids, or care for and snuggle with his ‘furry’ kids.

He’ll always be loved and remembered for his kind heart, his great sense of humor, and his wonderful storytelling by his son and daughter, his granddaughter Lindsay (Anthony) Noles, grandson Alex Brickens, granddaughter Ashley (Mark) Sassman, great-granddaughters Samantha and Kathryn Noles, granddaughter Naomi Vaughn, with whom he formed a special bond during his later marriage to Judi Mabry, Brother-in-Law Ronald Dutcher and nephew Mark Dutcher. In addition to his parents and his stepfather Glenn ‘Curtis’ Parker, Ken was preceded in death by his sister Betty Killinger and her husband, Joseph ‘Ted’ Killinger, his sister

Carol Dutcher and her daughter, Staci Shoffner.

Ken’s wishes were to be cremated with a small graveside service to be held at a later date and will be updated on the Gilliland-Howe website.  Online condolences can be made to the family at

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