Barton Ridling, age 87, an exceptional and compassionate servant, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Hobart, Oklahoma, surrounded by his loving family. He was born March 17, 1935, northeast of Sentinel, Oklahoma, to Raymond and Mamie “Viola” (Barton) Ridling.
Barton attended Sentinel Public Schools, where he was active in basketball, baseball and track. Born into a farming family, he was very involved in all areas of FFA, serving as Secretary and President of the Sentinel chapter, and went on to earn his State Farmer Degree and American Farmer Degree. Barton later became the State FFA Secretary and then was elected State FFA President in 1953 at the age of 18. He became the first married FFAer to head the Oklahoma organization of tomorrow’s farmers.
During his time of leadership, Barton mentored and encouraged many young people, including former U.S. Representative Wes Watkins. During a recent speech, Watkins said that as a young man he was attending the State FFA Convention and was inspired by Barton, who left a huge impression on him and encouraged him to run for state office and eventually State President. Barton also was very active in Boy Scouts.
He married Orlene Henderson on Sept. 5, 1952, sharing 68 wonderful years before her death on Sept. 29, 2020.
Barton had already established himself in the farming and ranching industry and he and Orlene began building a home on the farm where Barton had lived until he was 13. In 1983, they moved to town but had no intentions of slowing down.
Barton was a devout Christian and faithful member of the First Baptist Church in Sentinel, where he served as a Deacon, was past Chairman of the Deacons and previously served as the Sunday School Director and a Sunday School Teacher. Barton was also instrumental in the development of many other programs and overall development of the church.
Dedicated to his community, Barton served on the school board for 10 years, serving as President. Through his leadership, the school saw vast improvements in all areas. Barton also served as Mayor of Sentinel, with a vision to always work for the betterment of the community.
With a love for their hometown, he and his wife Orlene were generous to the community and to others less fortunate but never wanted any publicity or recognition.
In later years, Barton and Orlene enjoyed traveling in their motor home, but only when the farming and ranching was caught up.
Barton loved his family and always encouraged each of them in life, as well as all their activities. He leaves a legacy of love, determination and hard work and will forever be missed by those who knew and loved him.
In addition to his wife Orlene, he is also preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Viola Ridling; stepmother, Faye Snell Ridling; grandson, Rance Blake Ridling; great-grandson, Brayden Conner Hayes; son-in-law, Anton V. Yanda, III; and two sisters, Louise Bell and Wanda Boone.
Barton is survived by his four children: Kathie Little and husband Mark, Donna J. Yanda, Ronny Ridling and wife Robyn and Randy Ridling and wife Dana; grandchildren: Hether Shirey and husband Brian, Ashley Roof and husband Tanner, Ryan Ridling and wife Tatum, Richelle Clay and husband Denton, Risa Hayes and husband Arron, Natasha Lester and husband Chris, Randon Ridling and wife Courtney, Lance R. Yanda and Tony Yanda and wife Kimberly; 21 great-grandchildren; brother, R.L. Ridling and wife Judy; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
The family would like to thank Dr. Bob Abernathy, the staff at Woodland Gardens and Traditions Health for their loving and compassionate care and to James Pearce for his assistance.
Memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 460, Sentinel, OK, 73664 or the Sentinel Cemetery Fund, c/o Sentinel Municipal Building, P.O. Box 38, Sentinel, OK, 73664.
Viewing will be held from 1-8 p.m., with the family present from 6-8 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, at Ray & Martha’s Funeral Home, Sentinel, Oklahoma. Celebration of life services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8 at the First Baptist Church, Sentinel, Oklahoma, with interment following at the Sentinel Cemetery. Service can be viewed livestream on the First Baptist Church of Sentinel Facebook page.
Online condolences may be signed at http://www.yandafuneral.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Yanda & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Yukon, Oklahoma.