Bill was born at Seaside Hospital in 1933 in Long Beach, CA to Virgil and Alta Ridgeway. Bill attended Long Beach Wilson High School. He went on to graduate from LBCC and USC Dental School. He married his High School Sweetheart and Love of his life- Polly in 1957.
Bill was drafted into the US Army as an Officer after receiving his D.D.S. from the USC School of Dentistry and spent 1 year in Seoul, South Korea in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (Mash Unit) at DMZ. He was the only dentist with top secret clearance. He travelled throughout South Korea in a helicopter relaying important messages that were given to him in a special briefcase. Polly later joined him in Seoul and taught English at a Missionary School. He then spent 1 year as a Post Dental Surgeon at Fort Ord & Fort Hunter Liggett and left the Army as a Captain.
In 1962, Bill graduated from the first USC Orthodontic class with a M.S. in Orthodontics and began his 30-year practice in Long Beach. He enjoyed working with young people and seeing their beautiful smiles as the end result. Many years later, he often saw patients who thanked him for their straight teeth. Bill was a member of many Dental and Orthodontic organizations and designed and patented the Edgeway Bracket Bonding System.
Bill and Polly enjoyed travelling the world with many fond memories. Some of their highlights included: sitting with the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, watching the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, witnessing a solar eclipse in Mexico at Chichen Itza, swimming in natural hot pools in Antarctica and SCUBA diving in Chuuk Lagoon, Malaysia to view the submerged Japanese airplanes & ships. Bill & Polly also visited Libya, Cuba and were one of the first civilians to visit China and Russia. Bill visited the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia with his Son and 2 Grandsons in 2013. Overall, he travelled to approximately 120 countries (some no longer exist).
Bill and Polly were huge fans of the USC Football team and supporters of the USC Dental School. They were season ticket holders and attended USC Football games for over 50 years. Go Trojans!
Throughout the years, Bill immensely enjoyed Duck hunting at the Salton Sea and fishing on an island on Lake La Ronge in Saskatchewan, Canada with a dear friend from USC Dental School. He also spent many summers in Silver/June Lake camping and teaching his Grandchildren to fish. He was a huge history buff with an emphasis in WWII & an avid reader of non-fiction military topics.
Bill was an extremely generous, compassionate, creative, honoring, respectful, integrous man with a huge heart and a wonderful role model to all who knew him. He was without a doubt an amazing Son, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Citizen of the World. He will truly be missed and those who loved him will carry him in our hearts and memories forever.
Bill leaves behind his loving wife- Polly, Son- Bill Jr., Daughter- Susie, Grandchildren- Nolan, Joshua, Jessica and Sophia and Sister Nancy Wiggins Shuma.
In lieu of a memorial, the family will be having an online platform. Please visit the link below. You are welcome to include photos and messages. https://everloved.com/life-of/william-ridgeway/
As Bill truly believed in giving back to his community and loved Long Beach, in place of flowers, donations to the Assistance League of Long Beach Orthodontic Program (where Bill, at one time donated his time and resources) to assist those in need of Orthodontia would be greatly appreciated. Assistance League of Long Beach Orthodontic Program is located at 6220 E. Spring Street, Long Beach, CA 90815. https://www.assistanceleague.org/long-beach/
Published by Gazette Newspapers from Jan. 6 to Jan. 14, 2022.