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Forever in the Hearts They Leave Behind

Irma Ridgway


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Irma was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 2, 1932. She was the first of three children, and the only daughter of Zenen and Lenore Saldaña.

You would never know it unless she told you, but she had a weak heart. It started when she was eight years old and she contracted rheumatic fever. She spent six years, from age 8-14, in a convent resting and being cared for by nuns. Her home in Brooklyn, at that time, was unsettled and at times violent so her mother, a charismatic believer in Jesus Christ, protected her by not allowing her to come home and be a part of the turbulent, home environment.

Irma and Efrain were married at age 18. The newlyweds moved to Detroit, lived there for one year then travelled across the country to sunny southern California where they started their family in 1952. They had three daughters: Sharon, Terri, and Melodie, and divorced after 19 years of marriage.

During the 60’s Irma was a single mom raising three girls.  She worked as a secretary at Aerojet where she met her second husband, Keith Ridgway. They were married Aug. 16th, 1970. They had 41 years together when she became a widow in November of 2011.

Starting somewhere in her 40’s, Irma was constantly learning new ways to create beautiful things. She loved the fine arts. She practiced daily learning new medias and perfecting others such as beading, watercolors, toll painting, stained glass art, and quilting. She also became an avid collector of plates, tea cups, goblets, fine linens, and lithographs. She surrounded herself with beautiful items creating a beautiful, cozy home.

Irma had the gift of hospitality. If you were fortunate enough to visit her home, you left with a full tummy, a visual experience of all the beautiful items around her house, and a couple of really good belly laughs. She made strangers and friends alike, feel that they were very special to her.

One year after Keith passed away in 2011, Irma made a courageous decision to move to Phoenix, Arizona and live closer to family members in that area. At 81, she began creating a “new” home and lived independently for the next 6 years. In Phoenix, she became a faithful member of Paradise Springs Community Church, attended Bible Study Fellowship, attended advanced painting classes, went to Curves 3 times a week, and worked on her many home projects. She moved and stayed busy like an “Eveready” battery.

After a fall that resulted in a broken pelvis, Irma’s health declined quickly. She had congestive heart failure. She went into the hospital two times for palliative care. During the second visit she chose hospice and died 5 days later.

She passed on Christmas night at 10:34pm.

Irma will be remembered for her sense of humor. She laughed easily and mostly at herself.  She made new friends wherever she went and stayed in touch with old friends of 61 years. She was grateful for her health, her family, and her lot in life. She loved to travel and learn new things. She never complained of pain or ailments. She was opinionated yet willing to accept other points of view. She loved FOX news and Jeopardy. And, from the age of 50 until her last breath, she will be remembered for carrying  an unwavering love for Jesus Christ so that when her time came she was ready to meet Him face to face.

While she was in hospice, I pictured in my head the angels in heaven scurrying around putting the final touches on her new dwelling place. “Irma is on her way!  We have an artist coming. She’ll help us decorate all the new dwellings up here!”

Thank you, Mom. You did well with what you were given and now we will remember and enjoy the good things like you modeled for us.

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10 responses to “Irma Ridgway”

  1. Mimi Hodgeson says:

    You are invited to attend The Celebration of Life for my mom on February 16, 2:00PM to 6:00PM.

    It will be held at Mimi’s house 498 E. Bamboo Lane, San Tan Valley, Arizona 85140.

  2. Randy Fisher says:

    God will bless her and provide in abundance. She and Keith were great people.

  3. Julie says:

    There have been a few Moms in my life that I truly Loved.. and your Mom was one of them..
    I loved how tall/little she was.. I loved her strength.. I loved her dimples.. I loved her Smile.. I loved her contagious laugh.. I loved her voice.. I loved how she said Mimi.. and how she said Julie.. I loved how she loved cats.. I loved her love for All her plates on her walls.. I loved her cozy house.. I loved driving up your driveway and seeing her car there..
    She always made me feel welcomed at your home.. Like I was part of your family..
    I always thought about her and Prayed for her..
    I know she Loved Jesus.. and Today I know she is no longer in pain and she is whole again..
    Thank you, Mimi, for sharing your Beautiful Mom with me..
    Love you, my Forever Friend..
    ❤️

  4. Faith Espinoza says:

    I love my dear friend. Miss little I. As she was know in our quilting group. We had a lot of wonderful times together. We have been the best of friends since 1994. Toni and little I, are remodeling there rooms right now. I’m sure. l miss them both so much.

  5. Cindy Brenier-Dybas says:

    I am so sorry to hear your Mom’ passing. She brought so much joy to my life as a child and adult. Lots of great memories on Briarbank when she was our neighbor. My prayers are with you all.
    Love Cindy Brenier- Dybas

  6. Careyn Moore says:

    Hi Mimi this is Careyn Moore JoAnne Brenier’s daughter. I am so sad about your mom. We would like to come on the 16th. I would bring my mom and my sister. Please let me know if that works for you. Again I am so sorry for your loss and you are in my prayers.

  7. Laura says:

    Irma was a very loving and caring soul , always greeted me and my family at church in the mornings . She is very loved by the Rodriguez family , and will always hold a special place in our hearts she will be missed .

  8. JoAnne Brenier says:

    I was Irmas friend for 60 plus years I will miss talking to her as I did often. I loved her dearly We had many good times
    Together we saw all you girls raised and stayed close Luv to all 480 912-4215 u can call me

  9. Toni Maybee says:

    I have tried and tried to find the words to put 60 years of friendship with Irm. Well, here goes, we met at Aerojet, I met Keith first, he worked across from my office. Keith was a great guy. Then I met Irm, we became fast friend as if we’d know each other forever. Through the years we saw each others ups and downs, but we had each other. We laughed and cried, mostly laughed. She was “My Friend Irma” I miss our daily phone calls, we’d talk for an hour or sometimes more about anything or nothing, maybe what she had for dinner the night before or what was on the menu for that night or what was the weather like. We laughed about anything and everything. It’s been hard not picking up the phone to tell her that it’s snowing or what I bought at Sams. Looking at your picture, it’s hard to believe you’re not here, I hear your voice . I know you’re at peace now. We had so many years of fun, laughter and great times. You will never be forgotten and always have a special place in my heart and always be My Best Friend Irm. Give Mark a big hug and kiss for me. I love and miss you!

  10. Pastor Manuel Chavez says:

    First thing that comes to my mind when I think about hermana Irma is elegancia elegance, always a classy lady, well dressed, well spoken always desiring to learn and above all her love for the Lord. We met her later in her life at our Spanish church ministry but she left a mark in our life’s, I am forever thankful to have known her even for a while and I am sure I will see her again.

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Irma Ridgway


Share Obituary:

Send Flowers Print Obituary

Irma was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 2, 1932. She was the first of three children, and the only daughter of Zenen and Lenore Saldaña.

You would never know it unless she told you, but she had a weak heart. It started when she was eight years old and she contracted rheumatic fever. She spent six years, from age 8-14, in a convent resting and being cared for by nuns. Her home in Brooklyn, at that time, was unsettled and at times violent so her mother, a charismatic believer in Jesus Christ, protected her by not allowing her to come home and be a part of the turbulent, home environment.

Irma and Efrain were married at age 18. The newlyweds moved to Detroit, lived there for one year then travelled across the country to sunny southern California where they started their family in 1952. They had three daughters: Sharon, Terri, and Melodie, and divorced after 19 years of marriage.

During the 60’s Irma was a single mom raising three girls.  She worked as a secretary at Aerojet where she met her second husband, Keith Ridgway. They were married Aug. 16th, 1970. They had 41 years together when she became a widow in November of 2011.

Starting somewhere in her 40’s, Irma was constantly learning new ways to create beautiful things. She loved the fine arts. She practiced daily learning new medias and perfecting others such as beading, watercolors, toll painting, stained glass art, and quilting. She also became an avid collector of plates, tea cups, goblets, fine linens, and lithographs. She surrounded herself with beautiful items creating a beautiful, cozy home.

Irma had the gift of hospitality. If you were fortunate enough to visit her home, you left with a full tummy, a visual experience of all the beautiful items around her house, and a couple of really good belly laughs. She made strangers and friends alike, feel that they were very special to her.

One year after Keith passed away in 2011, Irma made a courageous decision to move to Phoenix, Arizona and live closer to family members in that area. At 81, she began creating a “new” home and lived independently for the next 6 years. In Phoenix, she became a faithful member of Paradise Springs Community Church, attended Bible Study Fellowship, attended advanced painting classes, went to Curves 3 times a week, and worked on her many home projects. She moved and stayed busy like an “Eveready” battery.

After a fall that resulted in a broken pelvis, Irma’s health declined quickly. She had congestive heart failure. She went into the hospital two times for palliative care. During the second visit she chose hospice and died 5 days later.

She passed on Christmas night at 10:34pm.

Irma will be remembered for her sense of humor. She laughed easily and mostly at herself.  She made new friends wherever she went and stayed in touch with old friends of 61 years. She was grateful for her health, her family, and her lot in life. She loved to travel and learn new things. She never complained of pain or ailments. She was opinionated yet willing to accept other points of view. She loved FOX news and Jeopardy. And, from the age of 50 until her last breath, she will be remembered for carrying  an unwavering love for Jesus Christ so that when her time came she was ready to meet Him face to face.

While she was in hospice, I pictured in my head the angels in heaven scurrying around putting the final touches on her new dwelling place. “Irma is on her way!  We have an artist coming. She’ll help us decorate all the new dwellings up here!”

Thank you, Mom. You did well with what you were given and now we will remember and enjoy the good things like you modeled for us.

Share Obituary:

Send Flowers Print Obituary

10 responses to “Irma Ridgway”

  1. Mimi Hodgeson says:

    You are invited to attend The Celebration of Life for my mom on February 16, 2:00PM to 6:00PM.

    It will be held at Mimi’s house 498 E. Bamboo Lane, San Tan Valley, Arizona 85140.

  2. Randy Fisher says:

    God will bless her and provide in abundance. She and Keith were great people.

  3. Julie says:

    There have been a few Moms in my life that I truly Loved.. and your Mom was one of them..
    I loved how tall/little she was.. I loved her strength.. I loved her dimples.. I loved her Smile.. I loved her contagious laugh.. I loved her voice.. I loved how she said Mimi.. and how she said Julie.. I loved how she loved cats.. I loved her love for All her plates on her walls.. I loved her cozy house.. I loved driving up your driveway and seeing her car there..
    She always made me feel welcomed at your home.. Like I was part of your family..
    I always thought about her and Prayed for her..
    I know she Loved Jesus.. and Today I know she is no longer in pain and she is whole again..
    Thank you, Mimi, for sharing your Beautiful Mom with me..
    Love you, my Forever Friend..
    ❤️

  4. Faith Espinoza says:

    I love my dear friend. Miss little I. As she was know in our quilting group. We had a lot of wonderful times together. We have been the best of friends since 1994. Toni and little I, are remodeling there rooms right now. I’m sure. l miss them both so much.

  5. Cindy Brenier-Dybas says:

    I am so sorry to hear your Mom’ passing. She brought so much joy to my life as a child and adult. Lots of great memories on Briarbank when she was our neighbor. My prayers are with you all.
    Love Cindy Brenier- Dybas

  6. Careyn Moore says:

    Hi Mimi this is Careyn Moore JoAnne Brenier’s daughter. I am so sad about your mom. We would like to come on the 16th. I would bring my mom and my sister. Please let me know if that works for you. Again I am so sorry for your loss and you are in my prayers.

  7. Laura says:

    Irma was a very loving and caring soul , always greeted me and my family at church in the mornings . She is very loved by the Rodriguez family , and will always hold a special place in our hearts she will be missed .

  8. JoAnne Brenier says:

    I was Irmas friend for 60 plus years I will miss talking to her as I did often. I loved her dearly We had many good times
    Together we saw all you girls raised and stayed close Luv to all 480 912-4215 u can call me

  9. Toni Maybee says:

    I have tried and tried to find the words to put 60 years of friendship with Irm. Well, here goes, we met at Aerojet, I met Keith first, he worked across from my office. Keith was a great guy. Then I met Irm, we became fast friend as if we’d know each other forever. Through the years we saw each others ups and downs, but we had each other. We laughed and cried, mostly laughed. She was “My Friend Irma” I miss our daily phone calls, we’d talk for an hour or sometimes more about anything or nothing, maybe what she had for dinner the night before or what was on the menu for that night or what was the weather like. We laughed about anything and everything. It’s been hard not picking up the phone to tell her that it’s snowing or what I bought at Sams. Looking at your picture, it’s hard to believe you’re not here, I hear your voice . I know you’re at peace now. We had so many years of fun, laughter and great times. You will never be forgotten and always have a special place in my heart and always be My Best Friend Irm. Give Mark a big hug and kiss for me. I love and miss you!

  10. Pastor Manuel Chavez says:

    First thing that comes to my mind when I think about hermana Irma is elegancia elegance, always a classy lady, well dressed, well spoken always desiring to learn and above all her love for the Lord. We met her later in her life at our Spanish church ministry but she left a mark in our life’s, I am forever thankful to have known her even for a while and I am sure I will see her again.

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Your email address will not be published.