Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, of Owings Mills
Richard Ridgell went by "Mike," his father-in-law Thomas Lyons said.
He grew up in Brooklyn in Anne Arundel County and worked as a Maryland State Police trooper before working in the Navy Yard. State police Sgt. Marc Black said Ridgell worked for the agency from January 1983 and had achieved the rank of corporal when he resigned in August 2000. He had three daughters - Heather, Megan, in her early 20s, and Madison, a high school senior - and devoted much of his free time to them.
"He loved his softball, loved his steamed crabs," Lyons said. "Mike was a good father, a trooper. He loved softball, loved to play softball and coached his daughters' softball teams through this summer season."
Before working for a Navy contractor, Lyons said, he spent about five years in Iraq as a private security consultant working with Iraqi security forces. Ridgell lived in Owings Mills, Lyons said. He lived prior to that in Westminster.
He worked for DynCorp International from 2010 to 2011 on its civilian police training contract in Iraq, said a company spokeswoman.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Ridgell's family, and to all who lost a loved one in this senseless tragedy," DynCorp said in a statement. "Several years ago Mr. Ridgell was a member of our CIVPOL program in Iraq - a program that requires law enforcement professionals to travel to remote locations, often placing themselves in harm's way, to promote stability around the world. His commitment to serving and bringing peace to communities here at home and abroad makes this loss all the more tragic."
Martin Herman, president of Special Response Corp., a Maryland security firm where Ridgell worked until last year, called him outgoing, "always in a good mood ... a real people person."
--Justin George and Richard Simon, Tribune Washington Bureau (Family photo /September 17, 2013)
The City of Westminster Common Council voted unanimously Monday to support naming a softball field at Jaycee Park in honor of Mike Ridgell.
Ridgell, 52, was one of the dozen people killed at the Navy Yard shooting Sept. 16. A former Maryland State Trooper, Ridgell was a coach with the Westminster Jaycees girls softball team.
The council voted after council member Tony Chiavacci read a letter from Jaycees coach Tom Whitcomb suggesting that the entire park be named after Ridgell.
Council members were concerned about setting a precedent in naming the entire park after Ridgell and agreed to move forward with naming a field in Ridgell's honor.
Whitcomb said in a phone interview Tuesday that although he wished the whole park was named after Ridgell, he was "pretty ecstatic" that council is establishing a memorial for his friend and colleague.
"He loved being up there and coaching the girls," Whitcomb said. "I hope his memory lives on for a long time because of the softball fields."
Ridgell's three daughters have all played for the Jaycees softball program.
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