SCARBOROUGH — Allen Ridley was remembered by his family Monday as a quiet, patient person.

He exhibited that patience in the time he spent in the basement of his home, finishing or refinishing furniture, said his daughter Pamela Keenan.

“He would sand and stain and buff until it was perfect,” she said.

Mr. Ridley worked on items from the unfinished furniture store or antique furniture from his wife, Barbara, including a kitchen table with chairs that she inherited from her great-great aunt. Keenan remembers when she moved into her first apartment, her parents bought her a table and her father called her to the basement to work on it with him.

“He wanted me to learn how to do it myself,” she said. “I learned a lot from his techniques, watching how careful and patient he was.”

Mr. Ridley died Sunday. He was 79.

Growing up in the same neighborhood together, Mr. Ridley and his wife started dating after high school. They married in 1951, a year before he earned his bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Maine.

Remembered as very hardworking, Mr. Ridley spent most of his career with Kraft Foods. He started as a laboratory supervisor in the company’s carrageenan plant. His daughters remember visiting their father at work and sampling fresh cups of chocolate milk from large vats.

Whether it was his career, his daughters or his involvement in community affairs, “whatever (Mr. Ridley) was going to do, he was very dedicated,” said his daughter Robyn Levesque.

“Allen was always head over heels in anything that anyone needed to be done,” often putting more than 100 percent of his efforts into a job, his wife said.

His daughters said they learned their work ethic from him.

“That steadiness and dedication, he passed that on to all of us,” Levesque said.

Mr. Ridley’s level of commitment was exemplified in his involvement with the Thornton Heights United Methodist Church choir.

“He never missed a choir rehearsal since he was 14 years old,” Levesque said.

Sally Nason, a fellow member of Thornton Heights United Methodist Church, said his active participation in the church and choir will be missed.

“He was just such a wonderful man,” she said. “He loved to sing, his music was everything. He was blessed with a beautiful voice.”

That talent for music was passed on to his daughters as well, and Nason remembers duets he performed with them at church talent shows.

“It was important to him and my mother to make sure all of us girls loved and appreciated music,” said his daughter Ellen Ridley.

“We all have a natural ability,” to sing, Levesque said.

When the family took vacations, Keenan remembers her father crooning while they drove along. Eventually, she and her sisters would pipe in.

“We’d all harmonize,” she said. “He’d sing tenor.”

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]