Penny Ridgeway, age 70, died peacefully on May 8, 2017, at Serenity House in Santa Barbara, California. Born on May 18, 1946, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, she was predeceased by her parents and many of her friends. Penny was raised in California, Pennsylvania, and Turkey, and as an adult lived in many states including Indiana, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, New York and Rhode Island, finally settling in her true home, Santa Barbara, California.
Penny’s life was informed by quiet but deep faith and nurtured by years of education at the schools and colleges of St. Mary of the Woods, and lifelong lay service with The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana.
Penny was an educator both by nature and profession. She held a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree in education. She was a teacher of art and mathematics, and, during the course of her career in various states, she also worked as a school administrator and principal, and finally as an educational test consultant and achievement test writer for several states, including Alaska, Minnesota, Texas and Florida.
Penny was a world traveler, an avid reader, a member of three book clubs and a poetry club. She was an exceptional and sought-after tennis player, and a volunteer for service and educational organizations wherever she found herself, including the Santa Barbara Monroe School Tutorial Center. Penny’s greatest joy was touching the lives of her students.
Penny’s friends remember her warmth, encouragement, and smiles best summed up in the following excerpt from a letter to Penny by one of her many friends. “You show and give warmth, comfort and sympathy… time and humor and abundant smiles, laughter and friendship… You have lifted my spirits more than once, given me hope more than once, and have encouraged me to persevere in some of my life’s happenings. This you are able to do just by being you – it is what you are all about and exactly who you are.”
Penny requested that her obituary include a note saying, “Thank you Dear Friends in Santa Barbara, New York, Florida and Rhode Island for adding fun, inspiration and joyfulness to my life.”
A private service will be held for Penny in July, 2017.