William "Ridge" Ridgeway Hooks passed peacefully into eternal life on Sunday, April 5, 2020 in Tyler, Texas, surrounded by his family. He was born in Waco, Texas, to Brian and Geraldine (Ridgeway) Hooks on December 22, 1945. He was welcomed by older brother, Wallace "Wally" Brian Hooks who promoted Ridge's interest in sports. Ridge's family moved back to Oklahoma City where he attended school at Sequoyah Elementary, Taft Middle School, and graduated high school at Northwest Classen in 1964. He went on to study at Oklahoma Baptist University, Casper Junior College in Wyoming, and Oklahoma State University, where he was a walk-on on the Cowboys Football team. In 1969, he proudly joined the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War as a Scout Dog Handler, attached to the 101st Airborne (Green Berets), with his K9 partner, Bliss, and finished his service as an MP at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After serving in the military, he returned to Oklahoma City to raise his two young sons, Bryan and David Hooks. He worked as an assistant manager for Piggly Wiggly grocery, he was a salesman for WJ Jones Brokerage, and he then began an amazing 25-year career with M&M/Mars. Ridge was affectionately known as "The Candy Man" among his family and friends because he always had a stash of candy with him and had a knack for producing just the right piece of chocolate at just the right time to brighten someone's day. He was a member of the elite Mars Tie Club and in 1988, he was a recipient of the Vice President's Award for Excellence. He served as District Manager in Memphis, TN and Houston, TX, and ended his career with Mars as Customer Relations Manager, covering 32 states. Although his work in candy came to a close, his candy jar was always open. In May of 1988, he married the love of his life, Ann Stewart, and her two daughters, Holly and Wendy Stewart, joined their family. Ridge had a lifelong love of all sports. Baseball, basketball, football…you name it. He would have a statistic or "one to watch" to discuss! He was a huge OSU Cowboys fan and loved going to the games in Stillwater. After years of playing softball, he became involved with USSSA in Oklahoma in the 1970s. When he was appointed State Director, he took pride in developing free youth clinics, where every child received M&M candy, with stuffed animals given as prizes. Ridge was known for sending the most teams to National and World tournaments every year. After serving as National Church Director and Southern Region President with USSSA, he went on to work with NSA in Texas, which piqued his interest in senior softball. In 2000, he purchased Softball Players Association, which has become one of the largest and most respected senior softball associations in the country. He was instrumental in developing the National Senior Summit, an annual conference in which all the associations came together to work to improve the game of senior softball. He also continued to support and grow the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame. He still found the time to play softball over the years, playing for various teams, and winning many awards for his talent in the game, including a membership in the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame in 1997. Ridge developed lifelong friendships during his softball career and was well respected and loved by many colleagues and teammates. Ridge was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He treasured the love of his wife, Ann, and he loved her with every fiber of his being. He especially loved and excelled in his role as "PawPaw" (AKA Grandpa). He was a fixture at his grandkids' scholastic and sporting events and was one they could always count on to "show up" for them.Ridge had a mischievous and vivacious personality and always made those around him happier for being in his presence. He never shied away from donning a costume (ranging from the Easter Bunny to a reindeer to a gorilla, and anything in between) if it meant making someone smile. Ridge was a man of great character. He sought to glorify God in all areas of his life. The motto for SPA is "To God Be The Glory", and he lived that every day. He was known for asking people he'd just met, "Do you know Jesus?" and, if they didn't, he would do what he could to introduce them to his Savior. He was a "Man's Man" who made it okay to openly be a Christian. When Ridge spent time with his family or friends, when he worked with his colleagues, or when he was hosting tournaments, you could always count on three things: his laughter, which could be heard from afar; his prayers, which could be felt for miles; and a smile that lit up the room and lifted the spirits of everyone around him. He was preceded in death by his parents, Brian Hooks and Geraldine Hooks-Smith and his brother Wally Hooks. He is survived by his beautiful wife of 32 years, Ann Hooks; his children Bryan Hooks (Kasey), David Hooks (Christy), Holly Hightower, Wendy Van Bemmel (T.J.), and Ginny Felton; his grandchildren Brandon Hooks, Alexis Hooks, William Ethridge, Elijah Hooks, Noah Hooks, Whitney Ethridge, and Micah Hooks; his nieces Debbie Carlin (Rick), Tiffany McBride (Jerrald) and nephew Brian Hooks (Scott); and lastly, his cousins Richard Holcomb, Linda Felton, Virginia McCombs (Don) and their families. Six feet apart and a maximum of 10 people just cannot do justice to the force of nature that was Ridge Hooks, so a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Ridge wasn't into flowers, but he was very into giving back to the community, so his family requests that in lieu of bouquets, donations can be made in his honor to the Ridge Hooks Memorial Scholarship Fund. Pay at https://tinyurl.com/RIDGEHOOKS or checks can be sent directly to the following: Brandon Hooks, CPA at 13600 North Blackwelder Ave., Apt. #174, Oklahoma City, OK 73134. Godspeed, Ridge. We will miss you.