Robert Ridley was born Aug. 8, 1944, in Estherville, Iowa. He graduated from Estherville High School in 1962. He attended Mankato State College where he received his bachelor’s of science degree and master’s of science in speech. In 1968 he taught speech and directed forensics at West High, Davenport, Iowa. In 1969 he began 41 years of teaching at Southwest Minnesota State College. During this time he served 14 years as chairman of speech and theater as well as directing the forensics program for 25 years. He served on numerous university, state and national committees.
While living in Marshall, Robert worked numerous summer months as a brakeman for the Rock Island Railroad. For six years he served the city of Marshall as a police reserve officer. Robert was an accomplished photographer earning many honors and awards for his work. His great passion was photographing rodeo action and in 1973 he joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a photographer where he became a gold card (lifetime) member. His photographs have appeared in a textbook as well as many publications, some of which include ProRodeo Sports News, Horse and Rider and the Western Horseman. In 1983 he received the ProRodeo Gold Buckle for best action photograph. As part of the Western Heritage Project, several of Robert’s photographs are in the Library of Congress. He continued his love of photography until his death. He loved any activity involving family and his beloved dog Boji, especially traveling, enjoying wherever there were mountains and trout-filled streams as well as summers spent at Lake Okoboji. He enjoyed old movies and listening and dancing to music of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s at the Roof Garden in Okoboji, Iowa, and was a lifetime member of the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association. He died Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Celebration of life services for Robert A. Ridley, 75, of Farmington, formerly of Marshall, will be Oct. 12 in Okoboji, Iowa. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to any local food shelf.
Survivors include his loving wife of 52 years, Marian; daughters Sara, Plymouth, and Kristin and Karis of Farmington; grandchildren Abby Larson, Phoenix, Ariz., and Megan Larson, San Diego, Calif.; sister Ann; nieces, a nephew; and many friends.
He was preceded in death by parents William and Myrtle Ridley and brothers Lynn and Neil.