James F. Ridenour, a retired educational and Episcopal diocesan fundraiser, dies

James Ridenour worked with 53 colleges and universities on more than 50 capital campaigns.
James Ridenour worked with 53 colleges and universities on more than 50 capital campaigns.(Handout / HANDOUT)

James F. Ridenour, a retired educational fundraiser who had been active with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, died March 10 from pulmonary fibrosis and hypertension at his Guilford condominium. He was 86.

James Franklin Ridenour, the son of Arthur S. Ridenhour, a YMCA general secretary, and his wife, Ruth Ohlzen Ridenour, was born in Peoria, Ill., and raised in Champaign, Ill.


After graduating from Champaign High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., where he was editor of the campus newspaper and launched his career as a fundraiser to raise money for a new Sigma Chi house.

He was was an Armstrong Cork Co. representative in Great Falls, Mont., Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago for 13 years, until being named associate director of development in 1968 at his college.

In 1973, Mr. Ridenour was appointed vice president for advancement at what was then Western Maryland College, and is now McDaniel College, during which time he concluded two capital campaigns and reintroduced a system of obtaining educational funding from the state.

Robert Mitchell Perkins Jr., a retired Community College of Baltimore County communication arts department chair, died of kidney failure Feb. 28 at St. Joseph Medical Center. He was 72 and lived in Glen Arm.

He began a four-year career in 1984 as vice president for advancement at Berry College in Rome, Ga., leaving in 1988 to become a senior consultant at Marts & Lundy in Lyndhurst, N.J.

For the next two decades until retiring in 2008, Mr. Ridenour worked with 53 colleges and universities on more than 50 capital campaigns, in which he succeeded in raising more than a billion dollars, family members said.

In 1989, Mr. Ridenour and his wife, the former Doris Kathryn Maxeiner, whom he married in 1959, moved to a home in Stoneleigh, where they lived for 30 years until moving to Winthrop House in Guilford.

He was a communicant of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, where he organized campaigns to enlarge its organ and build a columbarium. He also headed a successful giving program for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

He was a volunteer with the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center, which provides assistance to foreign seafarers calling at the Port of Baltimore, and also a driver for Village a Home, an organization that helps seniors remain living in their homes.


Mr. Ridenour had been troop committee chairman of Boy Scout Troop 3939 in Westminster, where his three sons obtained Eagle Scout status.

He remained a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and succeeded in achieving a goal of seeing a game in every major league ballpark.

Mr. Ridenour was an inveterate golfer who served twice as president of the Seniors at Pine Ridge and once at Pleasant Valley golf Club. he and his wife were also worldwide travelers.

A celebration of life service for Mr. Ridenour will be held at 11 a.m. March 30 at his church, 4 East University Parkway, Guilford.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, James F. Ridenour Jr. of Hollywood, St. Mary’s County, David Arthur Ridenour of Catonsville and Eric Carl Ridenour of Atlanta; a daughter, Aanne Catherine Ridnour of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.