Allen Lawrence Ridley Sr. died in his sleep at his home in Toms River, NJ on June 2, 2021, at age 75. Allen was born in Capron, VA on September 17,1945, to Louise Mae Taylor and Clyde Columbus Ridley Sr.
As the youngest of five siblings, Allen grew up in Capron where he was given the nickname “Wash” after his uncle who was named George Washington Ridley. Allen had an enduring passion for sports while in high school especially baseball and football. Lack of transportation did not prevent Allen from being a star athlete because he daily walked 4-5 hours home after practice. After graduating from Riverview High School in 1964, Allen attended Norfolk State University where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education and his Master’s Degree from Trenton State College.
As a veteran, Allen was a member of the US Army who fought in one of the most memorable American battles, the Vietnam War. Allen married his high school sweetheart, Ernell Wrenn, on September 18,1966, and they welcomed three beautiful children, Allen Jr. (Al.J), Henry, and Rosell.
Allen dedicated his life to making a difference in the lives of his students and athletes. Allen began his career as a health and physical education teacher and track coach in the Lakewood School System in 1972. He coached cross-country, indoor, and outdoor track. He was known to faculty and students as “Rid” or “Coach Rid.” Allen helped lay the groundwork for many young men and women to realize their dreams and achieve their full potential on the track and in the classroom. He taught in Lakewood until his retirement in 2001. He also worked as a counselor for Lakewood Recreation during the summers. He taught at the Police Academy in Freehold, NJ for a number of years as well.
He was a trailblazing pioneer that represented strength, determination, hard work, and most importantly, LOVE. After retirement, his lifelong commitment to excellence continued in every area of his life. He was often heard quoting the saying, “There’s no hill too steep for a high stepper” which demonstrated his tenacity and stamina to work hard in pursuit of a goal, despite obstacles or setbacks. He spent his last years working out faithfully in the gym, five days a week and 2 hours a day.
Allen was a down home “country boy” and a great dancer who loved old school music, fishing, photography, grilling, running, traveling back home to Virginia, watching westerns from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and spending time with family. Allen was known as the photographer of the family because he enjoyed sharing his vast collection of pictures and videos over the course of his life with family members, friends, and former students.
Allen was preceded in death by his father, Clyde C. Ridley Sr. in 1996, mother, Louise Mae Taylor Ridley in 2002, as well as his four siblings, Clyde Jr, Earsarah Ridley Williams, Catherine Ridley Hines, and James Washington Ridley. He is survived by his wife, Ernell Wrenn Ridley, and their children, Allen Ridley Jr, Henry Ridley and his wife, Laura Ridley, and their children, Henessa, Isaiah, and Anaiah, he also leaves behind his daughter, Rosell Ridley, granddaughter, Sienna, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Graveside services will be held at Morningstar Baptist Church in Capron, VA on July 10 at 1pm. The address is 14502 Rivers Mill Road (Route 612), Capron, VA 23829.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Allen Lawrence Ridley, Sr., please visit our floral store.