Terry Ridley, Esq.
A son, brother, father, friend and lawyer
Terry Ridley was the second of six sons of Fay Hope (Hampton) and the late Moses Ridley.
Terry was a precocious child growing up in the Lafayette Garden’s Housing Project, always asking questions and curious to see how things in life worked. As a child you could find Terry searching in yards for his bug collection or reading comic books, which his parents gave him as an alternative to his bug collection. Terry would always say if he had kept all of his comic books from when he was a child he would have been rich before he was thirty. Unfortunately he didn’t and therefore had to work to achieve success, and work he did.
Terry attended P.S. 22 in Jersey City where he was a constant presence on the honor roll. He would receive an honor roll ribbon every marking period for receiving straight A’s and one day when he was turning in his ribbon, the teacher (Mr. Flood) said “Terry keep your ribbon, because you’re always on the honor roll.” Terry said he was the only one who was afforded this honor. Then he would tell you funny stories about how people tried to bully him, but he never stopped achieving.
Terry attended Lincoln High for two years and received a scholarship from A Better Chance, Inc. to attend Vermont Academy, a private boarding school in Saxton River, Vermont. After graduating from Vermont Academy, Terry attended the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. In 1979, Terry graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Science degree in History/Secondary Education. Terry received a scholarship and received a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 1981. While attending V.C.U., Terry was employed as an Economic Development Assistant for the City of Richmond’s Economic Development Office, where he was able to cultivate his skills as a planner.
Terry attended Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ, as a part-time evening student. He worked as a law clerk for the law firm of Ashley & Charles, Esq. while attending Rutgers. It was during that time that Terry researched and collaborated with Joseph Charles, Esq. in the submission of Appellate and Supreme Court briefs in the case of State v. Novembrino, 105 N.J. 95 (1987), a case which explicitly recognized that the our state constitution is more protective and can be more protective of individual rights than the federal constitution. After graduating from Rutgers and upon admission to the NJ Bar, he was employed as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor in Jersey City, NJ. As an Assistant Prosecutor, Terry handled a variety of criminal matters and also acquired substantial trial experience. After three years with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Terry returned to Ashley & Charles as an Associate.
In October 1991, Terry left the employ of Ashley & Charles and took a Senior Associate position with the Housing Authority of the City of Newark. As Senior Associate Counsel, Mr. Ridley handled major litigation involving construction contract claims, civil rights violations and real estate matters. In addition, Terry functioned as the Authority’s labor counsel, representing the Authority in all labor negotiations and matters before PERC and OAL. While at the Authority, Mr. Ridley was lead counsel in a lawsuit filed against the Authority to place it in federal receivership for failing to live up to its mandate to provide “safe, decent and affordable” housing. The Authority was not only able to avoid being placed in receivership, it was allowed to demolish its structurally obsolescent high-rises and implement the construction of 1,777 low-rise public housing units.
In 1995, Terry co-founded the Law Firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley. During that time Terry has had many highlights throughout his legal career. He has received jury verdicts and/or settlements ranging from $3.9 million dollars in a breach of contract case; $3.25 million in a personal injury case; $1.52 million in an employment discrimination/civil rights case; $500,000.00 in a hostile work environment case; and $500,000.00 in an instantaneous death case. He has served as underwriter’s counsel in the issuance of bonds for several municipalities totaling well over $100,000,000.00. Terry also assisted in settling a wrongful arrest case in the amount of $800,000.00 and a civil rights employment case reported in the Star Ledger against Rutgers University in the amount of $600,000.00. He has represented developers of both commercial and real estate projects, especially in the affordable housing arena. He has also successfully represented individuals charged with criminal offenses in both state and federal courts.
Terry served as special counsel to the Hillside planning and zoning boards, and also served as redevelopment counsel for the Township Of Orange. He served as special counsel to the Newark Housing Authority, redevelopment counsel to the Long Branch Housing Authority, and as General Counsel to the Jersey City Housing Authority, Irvington Housing authority and the East Orange Housing Authority.
Terry was a member of the American Bar Association, the NJ State Bar Associations, American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA), Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of NJ, National Bar Association and the Garden State Bar Association. Terry is a former trustee of the Hudson County Bar Association.
Terry loved to read, write, travel and watch sports, especially his favorite team, with his “little” brother Troy, the Dallas Cowboys. The family often got together on Thanksgiving Day to watch the annual Cowboys game.
Terry is preceded in death by his father, Moses Ridley, his Uncles Herbert Hampton, Donald Hampton Ronald Hampton, Marc Hampton and Donald Ridley
Terry is survived by his wife Sekina Rodgers, daughters Monique Nicole and Lauren Marie, mother Fay Ridley, five brothers Moses Jr. (Stephanie), Michael, Bruce, Derrick and Troy (Tama). Three step children, Russell, Lateefa and Yusef Thomas. Uncles, Robert, William, Edward and Ray Hampton, Aunts Dolores Gray and Sherry Ridley, Nephews Rashard, Christen, and Troy Jr. Mother-in-law Ingrid Rodgers, brothers-in-laws, Keaon, Aaron, Derrick, and Shannon Rodgers, sisters-in-laws Tanea Felder, Crystal, Shonda, Michelle, Felicia, and Dynaya Rodgers, Godsons Alterique Crawford, and Theodore Dolinson Jr. Goddaughter, Jasmine Myers, law partners Raymond Hamlin, Ronald Hunt, and the staff at the Law Firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley, close friends Theodore Dolinson, Robert Henry Jr. and many other relatives, friends, and colleagues too numerous to name.
Terry was loved by many and will be missed by all.