On April 27, 2014, friends and family members from across Beaver County and beyond celebrated the life of Mable M. “Boots” Wallace, long-time West Mayfield resident and member of the well-known Ridings family.
If West Mayfield Borough can claim a pioneer family, the Ridings clan is as much a part of our community’s origin and local history as any. From serving as burgess (the preceding term for mayor), chartering the fire service, running local elections, managing tax collections, to leading the Ladies Auxiliary, members of the Ridings family have been actively involved in West Mayfield affairs for more than a century.
Boots, who was 84 and lived in her childhood home near the fire department, was no exception. She passed away Tuesday, April 15, 2014. She was the daughter of the late John and Mable Eckman Ridings, themselves long-time volunteers in the borough.
Boots’ paternal great grandparents emigrated from England in the late 19th century and eventually settled in White Township. When a group of independent-minded citizens broke from the township and petitioned the Commonwealth to establish a new municipality, the Ridings name was one of the first listed on the charter. Boots’ grandfather, Harry Ridings, then served as the borough’s first burgess in 1923. Five years later, her grandmother Jennie served as burgess—a notable achievement considering the times. Just a few years earlier before the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, women we denied the right to vote.
Since then, a member of the Ridings family, including Boots, has served the borough in some capacity, whether as a member of the fire department, ladies auxiliary, or as an elected official. Records show that hardly a citizens’ committee ever existed without some member of the Ridings family presiding.
As for Boots, she was a former borough wage tax collector, judge of elections, past president of the West Mayfield Women’s Auxiliary, and long-time volunteer with many other local activities, including 37 years with the Beaver County Maple Syrup Festival.
The recent memorial fittingly held in the West Mayfield Fire Hall not only celebrated Boots’ life and selfless contributions to the community, but it also gave residents a chance to reflect upon and honor one of our founding families.
Read Boot’s obituary in the Beaver County Times.