Obituary

Robert A. Ridley, Veteran WI Photographer, Dies Peacefully at 90

Funeral Service to be Held at Friendship Baptist Church in Southeast on Jan. 14

On Dec. 30, 2020, Robert Adron Ridley died peacefully at the Washington Hospital Center in the District.

He will be remembered as a dedicated member of more than 80 years at Friendship Baptist Church in Southeast, a decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, an entrepreneur, a longtime and talented photographer for The Washington Informer, a loving family man and one dedicated to sharing his blessings with others.

Ridley, born April 9, 1930, in D.C., the oldest of three siblings, attended Oxon Hill Elementary, Randall Junior High and Phelps High School, all located in the District.

He joined Friendship Baptist Church in Southeast at 15 and became an usher at the age of 17 where he served in the same capacity for 83 years until his death — an indisputable testament of his love for serving others. He also shared his gifts as a member of the Men’s Ministry at his home church.

Ridley married Mary C. Thomas (Brower) August 15, 1951, and to this union they were blessed with three children: Robert, Thomas and Inita.

In 1952, he joined the U. S. Marine Corps where he served for six years before being honorably discharged and decorated with the Good Conduct Medal Award.

Back in civilian life, he started his own upholstering business, eventually turning his attention toward the fulfillment of one of greatest dreams — photography. According to his church family, Ridley could always be counted on to be on hand with his equipment wherever two or three were gathered.

As he perfected his skills, he became a photographer/videographer at Friendship Baptist Church — a position he held from the mid-’80s until health challenges forced him to put down his camera.

Beyond the environs of his church, Ridley was well known around the greater Washington area because of his photographic prowess. He would join the ranks as a photographer for The Washington Informer Newspaper, working with the newspaper’s founder and publisher, Dr. Calvin W. Rolark Sr.

For decades, he captured unforgettable moments behind the lens, also interviewing preachers, teachers, politicians and almost anyone else who had a story to tell, video camera in hand.

Known for his compassion and true commitment to both his family and friends, he would often say, “God has been good to me, so I don’t mind doing for others.”

Preceded in death by his daughter, Joyce Marshal; son, Robert Ridley Jr.; two siblings, Reginald Ridley and Nina-Mae Bell, his death will be mourned by his son, Thomas D. Ridley; daughter, Inita Cooper (Vernon); sister, Eunice Lewis; six grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Services will be performed by the Rev. J. Michael Little, both virtually and for a small number of family members, on Thursday, Jan. 14 at Friendship Baptist Church.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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