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A delightful birthday surprise for 99-year-old

South Boston News
Lillian Ridgeway / September 21, 2020

On Thursday, Lillian Ridgeway was delighted with a surprise birthday celebration to honor her 99th birthday.

As it was poured rain Thursday afternoon, Ridgeway was surrounded by her bridge club members as they enjoyed the parade from her porch on Peach Avenue in South Boston. Many friends and former co-workers participated in the parade by honking horns and bringing gifts. Sirens were sounded by the South Boston police and fire departments.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “We are having a porch party,” said Carole Rottler, a bridge club friend who organized the event.

“I have good neighbors and friends with the bridge club and Sunday school group,” said Ridgeway, who attends First Baptist Church on Main Street.

There have been many changes in her lifetime — from the Ford-T automobile to telephones that were mounted on the wall of your home.

“I think technology is a lot better. As a child, the picture on the television was just snow,” she said.

“I am blessed by God for my great number of years of life. I am fortunate to be driving around town and to be well mentally and physically to take care of myself. I think the pandemic is horrible and I hope it never happens again.”

She was born in South Boston in 1921. Her parents were Charlie and Mattie Russell. She had one brother, William Russell, who has since passed.

“Unfortunately, I did not have any children, but I have many nieces and nephews who keep in touch,” said Ridgeway.

She has lived in the town her whole life. She was an accountant for Dominion Energy for 49 years and her late husband, Richard Ridgeway, was the owner of a market in town and a volunteer firefighter.

“When I called the fire department to see if they were available to participate in the parade, they shared stories of how Mr. Ridgeway would hear the fire station alarm sound and he would run out of his market and hop on the firetruck while still wearing his apron,” said Rottler.

The porch party was a hit with the ladies, who all agreed it was a great idea.

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