Walter J. Ridge, 83, retired Fire Chief of Westfield, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 surrounded by his loving family.

Ridge was born in Newark and has lived in Westfield since 1949. He was a veteran of the US Navy and served aboard the destroyer USS Bache during the Korean War. Mr. Ridge joined the Westfield Fire Department in 1958 and rose through the ranks becoming Fire Chief on June 1, 1981, and served as chief until his retirement in 1997. Prior to joining the Fire Department, he was a partner in Romeo’s Gulf station in Westfield.

Ridge was a member in the NJ and Union County Fire Chiefs Association, the Westfield Superior Officers Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Arson Investigators and Bomb Technicians and Investigators.

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Ridge was a charter member of the Westfield Chapter of Unico National and served as director and chapter secretary. He also was a member of the Martin-Wallberg Post of the American Legion and had served as a vice commander of the post.

Ridge is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Frances (nee Romeo) and their daughters Maureen A. Gabriel and her husband Jeffrey and Kathleen A. Ridge along with grandchildren Jeffrey, Laura and Erin Gabriel. He will also be missed by his siblings; Rosemary Mormelo (late husband Bernard), Gail Saparito (Richard), Dennis Ridge, his buddy, brother-in-law Russell Romeo and many nieces, nephews and friends. Walter was also predeceased by a brother, James.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to either the Westfield Rescue Squad or St. Barnabas Burn Center.