Ridge sailed across the finish line for the last time on March 5, 2019. He was born July 16, 1927, to Alice Loomis and Edward McKenna, and was the grandson of John Purcell McKenna, who arrived in Lake Worth in 1885.
A Palm Beach native, Ridge grew up riding his bicycle to the Inlet, with his buddies, to check the daily catch; playing touch football on the beach; and sailing his first sail boat, "Wimpy", around Evergaldes Island. He was thrilled to have the Duke and Duchess of Windsor on his paper route.
Ridge graduated from Palm Beach High School in 1945 and enrolled in the Merchant Marines during World War II. He later served in the Navy on the USS Okaloosa for two years. He attended Georgia Tech and became a zealous Yellow Jacket. He was a member and past president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management and was hired by Owens Corning Fiberglass following graduation.
In 1950, he married Martha Lainhart. Their life with Owens Corning required moving frequently throughout the U.S. as the company grew, and he was promoted.
In 1956 he had the opportunity to return to the Palm Beaches when he was asked to join the family business, Lainhart & Potter, established in 1893. It was the oldest company in Palm Beach County when it ceased operations in 2012, having served the Palm Beaches for 119 years.
The move enabled him once again to pursue his passion for sailing. He was a member and past commodore of the Palm Beach Sailing Club. With his skill as a sailor, he and his crew won the Sailfish Club Memorial Day Race to the Bahamas and back three years in a row. The perpetual trophy was then retired to Ridge and his crew. As he would say, "Luck of the Irish".
During their retirement years, Ridge and Martha became a little more adventurous -- from white water rafting on the Colorado River to snowmobiling in Yellowstone. Perhaps his most memorable sailing venture was on the China Sea with his good friend, Johnny Farrell, Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of Coca Cola. Summers were often spent enjoying Lake Lure in North Carolina at "Leftovers", always with lots of family members and dear friends enjoying water skiing, apple boarding, hiking, and picnics.
Ridge always had an interest in LGB German trains and decided to build his own layout in our garage. It was a triple decker with bridges, mountains, waterfalls, and lots of bells and whistles. It was a delight for grandchildren and friends of all ages to see.
Ridge is survived by his wife, Martha; their two daughters, Elizabeth (Jere) Leffler, Lynn McKenna, and their three grandchildren, Ridge, Fletcher, and Lainhart Daves.
At Ridge's request, there will be a private service. Donation's in Ridge's memory may be made to the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, 300 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, Fl. 33401.
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Historical Society of Palm Beach County
300 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach FL 33401