Glen Ridgway, QC
“A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS”
by Bruce LeRose, QC
Anyone who has ever been to a call ceremony in the Supreme Court of British Columbia will have heard words of wisdom imparted from either the presiding Judge or the representative of the Law Society about the importance of “giving back” by way of service to your profession and your community. For the year 2010, at least, our new President, Glen Ridgway, will simply have to hand out his resumé. It is perhaps the best example of selfless contribution to community and profession that you will ever come across.
Our new President’s penchant for service is a reflection of his outgoing and gregarious personality. He has absolutely no hesitation introducing himself to any stranger, regardless of status, and within minutes he will make that stranger feel like they have been friends for life. His infectious laughter and boundless knowledge of trivia disarms anyone he comes in contact with, not to mention that once you have met him, he will never forget who you are, where you come from, or what your name is. This big personality will make Glen Ridgway the perfect individual to carry the message of the Law Society forward as we start the second decade of the 21st century.
Glen’s beginnings started in the Province of Saskatchewan. He was born in Langenburg, Saskatchewan, on September 14, 1947 and spent all of his formative years in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. He graduated from Yorkton Collegiate Institute in 1965 and received his BA (History) from the University of Saskatchewan in 1968. It was in 1968 that Glen felt the lure of the West Coast and moved to Vancouver to obtain his LLB from the University of British Columbia in 1971.
During his law school days, Glen picked up the nickname “Tex.” You might think that his law school buddies gave him this “handle” because of his prairie farming roots, but the fact is that Glen hardly ever set foot on a farm. His father was a school principal, so he grew up in as urban a setting as one could in Foam Lake. One of his law school classmates, a former President of the Law Society, Bill Everett, QC, explained that the reason they called him Tex was because he always wore cowboy boots to class. In the late 60s, it was unusual to see such foot apparel walking around Point Grey. The name stuck and he is still commonly referred to as Tex, although he has warned the Benchers for 2010 that he only wants to be addressed as “Mr. President, Sir.”
Like so many others, Glen chose to leave Saskatchewan and practise law in BC, but there always remains an extraordinary connection to the province of their birth. More so than any other province, perhaps on a par with Newfoundland, you will hear these colleagues talk cheerfully and longingly about their Saskatchewan. Glen is no exception and wears his “Rider Pride” on his sleeve. Just last year he made a pilgrimage back to Foam Lake (what’s left of it) and toured the Province of Saskatchewan, all the while following the Saskatchewan Roughriders to places like Winnipeg and Edmonton.
Glen articled with the law firm of Lauder and Matthews in Victoria in 1971-72 and quickly realized that he was really a small town boy at heart, so he settled in Duncan in 1972 where he continues to practise to this day with the firm of Ridgway & Company. On January 11, 1974 Glen married the love of his life, Carole, and they had three children, two boys and a girl.
To say that raising a young family, building a law practice and being actively involved in his community over the next 30 years was a busy time for our new President, would be the understatement of the century. He was a minor hockey volunteer; for two decades a member of North Cowichan municipal council (during which time, for much of his tenure, he represented North Cowichan at the Cowichan Valley Regional District board table); he has been a member of the Duncan Rotary Club for over 20 years. He golfs regularly (and sometimes reasonably well) as a member of the Cowichan Valley Golf Club. He is active in his church. He is always somehow involved and out in the community.
On top of all this, Glen manages to run a very successful law practice and has become a highly regarded litigator. He is well known throughout the province, but particularly on the Island, for his common touch. He is always fair, frank and forthright in his dealings but never shy to get into Court and advocate strongly for his clients’ interests.
Many of our colleagues will remember Glen as a frequent contributor to the “Grumbles” section of the Advocate. He is always entertaining, and not afraid to be sometimes provocative. No matter what the topics of conversation are, undoubtedly Glen will somehow raise the names of two of his favourite Canadians, Brian Mulroney and Don Cherry. He’s prepared to advocate that George W. Bush did some good things. Pierre Trudeau used to be regularly mentioned (for different reasons), but Glen has finally recognized it is time to move on. Not to be too one-sided, Glen confirms he likes Bill Clinton and “Barry” Obama.
Glen’s partners recount how, after any winter snow storm, Glen wonders out loud if Mr. Bull or Mr. Housser, like he, are at the office on a Sunday morning, shovelling the snow off the sidewalks and the parking lot after a Saturday evening storm. When a person calls the office seeking legal assistance and needs to speak to a lawyer, when all others are too busy Glen seems to always find the time, and energy, to give advice. As a lawyer, he is bright and an extremely quick study. He has the ability to take the most complex set of facts and determine the few essential points or issues in any case.
In the Fall of 2004, finally achieving the empty nest category, Glen and Carole fulfilled a long-standing dream and took a lengthy tour of Europe, for which Glen is eternally grateful. Upon their return, Carole became ill and passed away in the Spring of 2005. Glen is an intensely private person, and the loss of Carole required him to regroup and start over again, and although Carole is never far from his heart, it is clear that he has picked up the pieces and is moving on with the next phase of his life. In 2008 he became a grandfather, and in early 2009 he met Kathryn Oliphant, who is a loving and caring partner with the same outgoing personality as Glen. The only problem with this relationship is that she is a better golfer than he is.
Glen has been the Bencher for the North Island since 2002. He has chaired virtually every committee at the Law Society and has sat on the Executive Committee for five years. He is very well liked by all of his colleagues at the Bencher table and by Law Society staff. His inherent charm, hard work ethic and genuine concern for everyone he meets make Glen Ridgway the ideal leader of the Law Society in 2010. Buckle your seat belts; it should be a terrific ride.