Landscapes 15

Hallas H. Ridgeway

July 12, 1933 ~ February 28, 2020 (age 86)


Hallas Hazard Ridgeway, 86, of Chaplin died at home surrounded by his family on February 28, 2020.  He was born July 12, 1933 to Benton and Ruth (Borges) Ridgeway of South Windham, CT.  He graduated from Windham High School where he played baseball, football and swam.  He attended the University of Connecticut (UConn) where he received a BS in Civil Engineering.  He first worked for US Bureau of Public Roads (that became the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)) in Tennessee and Florida before being drafted into the United States Army, where he spent 2 years.  Later working again for FHWA he went overseas to work on US subsidized highways in Laos.  On a visit to friends in Cambodia Hal met Teresa Drivdahl (originally from Big Timber, Montana) who was teaching English.  After a short courtship they married.  From road building in Laos and Cambodia, Hal was then sent to Brazil.  A year later their first child, Lesley, was born.  They returned to the U.S. and spent a short time in Washington DC, where their second child Benton was born.  Hal then decided to leave his job with Federal Highways and returned to UConn where he earned a Doctoral degree in Civil Engineering. The Ridgeway’s bought their current home in Chaplin, CT where their third child, Kristoffer was born.   Hal remained at UConn as a Lecturer to teach, do some research and mentor to students until he retired.  He was also a licensed Professional Engineer and a licensed Land Surveyor, which is a difficult pair of licenses to acquire.  Hal could often be found doing property surveys in the summer and received the New England Surveyors Award from the American Congress on Surveying & Mapping.   After retiring from UConn, he worked intermittently for many years as a consulting engineer on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projects. Hal also participated in several civic groups over the years including several voluntary and elected positions for the Town of Chaplin, the Windham Regional Planning Agency, and the Antiquarian Landmark Society.

Hal and Teresa enjoyed traveling.  They drove and camped across US several times with and without children visiting friends and relatives.  They also traveled overseas returning to Cambodia as well as trips to Indonesia (working trip for Hal), Hong Kong, Norway, England, and Portugal.

Hal was always active and enjoyed running, tennis, cross country skiing, hiking, canoeing, and rowing.  He qualified for, ran and finished the Boston Marathon.  He continued rowing in a double scull until a couple of years ago.  He was also was a private pilot and enjoyed flying his Stinson. There were many trips with friends and family, especially to Fisher’s Island to get mussels.  He received the Orville Wrights “Master Pilot” Award for 50 year of safe flying.  Hal and Teresa also operated a small farm, raising sheep and goats.  Another favorite activity was making, enjoying and sharing his homemade cider and wine, Natchaug Nectar. Hal was also well known for roasting pigs at various gatherings.  Hal Loved Life, Family and Friends.

He is survived by his wife Teresa, his children Lesley Sweeney and her husband Steve of Mansfield,  Benton Ridgeway and his wife Cristina of Plymouth, and Kristoffer Ridgeway and his wife Charlene of Simsbury, grandchildren Emily, Erin, Ryan, Theodore, Samantha, Noah, and Isaiah, his sister Judy (Coon) Potter and husband Russell of Coventry, his brother Michael Ridgeway and his wife Deborah of Pennsylvania, nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service for Hal will be held in the summer of 2020.  To sign an online guestbook visit

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