Cover photo for Don Ridgeway's Obituary
1948 Don 2024

Don Ridgeway

February 29, 1948 — March 2, 2024

Paris, TN

Don Ridgeway, 76 of Paris, TN, passed away Saturday, March 2, 2024.


Don was a proud graduate of the Grove High School class of 1966 where he was voted “Friendliest” in his class, a trait he carried throughout his entire life.  He graduated in 1970 from The University of Tennessee at Martin with a bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in history and later served as UTM Alumni Council President. Don then taught reading and history at Grove Junior High for a while before going into the insurance business working at Balch and Reynolds in Paris.  He was a member and former chairman of the Henry County Board of Education. 


In 1984, Don was elected to the Tennessee Legislature House of Representatives where he served for 18 years.  Over the course of those years, he represented the people of Henry, Benton, Stewart, Houston, and part of Dickson counties.  He served as Majority Caucus Chairman, and Chairman of Transportation, and Conservation and Environment Committees.  Don was a delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  


After his legislative service, Don began work with the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council where he served as Director for 21 years and was always referred to as “Mr. Don” by his co-workers. He was an avid UT Vols and Tennessee Titans supporter and held season tickets to both for many years.  An avid golfer, he was a former member of Puryear Country Club, and a 50-year member of Paris Country Club.  He was also a licensed funeral director for almost 50 years.  Don was a longtime voting member of the Country Music Association.   His love for music helped promote many other colleagues in their music careers.  He was a former member of the Optimist Club, Rotary, Masons, Shriners, and Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity at UTM.   Don was a recipient of numerous awards and accolades during his life-long career of service to others.


Don was born February 29, 1948, in Paris, TN to the late John T. Ridgeway and the late Lillie Ruth Call Ridgeway.


He was married on June 8, 1969, to Mary Kate Penn Ridgeway who survives of Paris.  He is also survived by one son, John Penn (Melissa) Ridgeway of Paris; one brother, T. Leon (Carol) Ridgeway of Paris; two grandsons, Walker Ridgeway, and Jackson Ridgeway; and several other extended family members


Arrangements are being handled by Ridgeway Funeral Home, 201 Dunlap St, Paris, TN.    His celebration of life service will be Thursday, March 7, 2024, at 4:00 pm at First Baptist Church in Paris.  No visitation is planned.  


The pallbearers will be Byron Gallimore, Bart Herbison, Mark Herbison, Johnny Bucy, Danny Nelson, Jerry Hayes, Michael Murphey, and Sam Murphey.  


Honorary pallbearers named are Bill Purcell, Ronnie Scammerhorn,  Eddie Wilson, Steve “Ace” Cannon, Billy Harber, Kenny Clayton, Gary Odom, Joe Sturdivant, The rest of the Grove High School class of 1966, and the staff of Ridgeway Funeral Home.  


There will be a private entombment in Rose Lawn Mausoleum.  


Memorials may be made to: Henry County Helping Hands - 2025 Auction, PO Box 22, Paris, TN 38242  or   Todd Latta Junior Golf League, c/o Andy Collins, 204 W. Washington St, Paris, TN 38242.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Don Ridgeway, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Starts at 4:00 pm (Central time)

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