Emily Parsons Ridgway, of Short Hills, NJ and Fishers Island, NY died peacefully on October 1st, two months before her 103rd birthday. Her husband William C. Ridgway, Jr. predeceased her, as did her sister, Lucille Parsons Balcom, and her brother, Joseph Lester Parsons, Jr. She is survived by her four children William C. Ridgway, III (Carol), Charles P. Ridgway (Julianne), Emily R. Crisp (Peter), and Sara R. McLean (Locke); eleven grandchildren, five step-grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren and her step-sister, Harriet Wells Bailey. Emily was a dedicated volunteer, serving as President of the Short Hills Garden Club and going on to serve as a Vice-President of the Garden Club of America; as a Trustee of Miss Porter’s School; as a Regent of Kenmore and as a member of The Auxiliary of Overlook Hospital. She was an Overlook Foundation Trustee from 1988-1994. In 2002 she received the Hospital’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service.
She was a lifetime member of twenty-two philanthropic organizations. Following her husband’s death in 1986, she pursued her long suppressed dream to be on stage by performing in a number of Paper Mill Playhouse productions. Emily was an avid collector of art and artifacts and travelled extensively including two trips around the world in her later years. Horticulture, particularly orchids, was her passion. She treasured her flower and vegetable garden at Fishers Island and tended it with loving care each summer while boasting she never bought a single vegetable during the season. Emily also held strong political views which she had no hesitation in expressing, sometimes to the consternation of her friends and family. Her exemplary
life will be an inspiration to her family and all those who were privileged to know her.
A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to Overlook Foundation (Box 220 Summit, NJ 07902) or The Island Health Project (Box 344, Fishers Island, NY 06390) would be appreciated.