COLUMBIA — Robert Eugene Riddell Jr. loved racing. As a child, his family often spent time at the circuit tracks. He would spend hours on the phone with his mother discussing who would win the race.
"He was an avid NASCAR fan," his sister Susan Myer said. "He would have hoped to have met Carl Edwards, the local hero guy."
Robert Eugene Riddell Jr. of Columbia died Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, at his home after a long battle with cancer. He was 54.
Mr. Riddell was born on Nov. 5, 1958, in Columbia to Robert Eugene Riddell Sr. and Betty Jean (Bentlage) Riddell Traxler. Mr. Riddell grew up in Columbia, attending Oakland Junior High School and Hickman High School, where he graduated in 1976.
"He was very proud to be a Boone County boy," Myers said. "He was a laid-back, country guy."
Mr. Riddell enjoyed being a Cub Scout and collecting coins as a child. He also loved riding his horse, which he later traded — literally — for a Jeep.
Mr. Riddell married Sherry Lee on April 8, 1980, with whom he had a daughter, Robin Jean Cameron. He married his second wife, Lynne Brooks, on May 27, 1983. They had two children, Matthew Owen Riddell and Samantha Jane Riddell. Mr. Riddell also has a 7-year-old son, Ashton Julius Lindsey, from another relationship.
In August 2010, Mr. Riddell began dating Susan McGee, a long-time family friend. They later became engaged.
"He was a caring, passionate man," McGee said. "He helped anybody do anything."
While helping his family operate its business, Town 'N Country Tires and Batteries, Mr. Riddell developed a love for automobiles, Myers said. In his late teens, Mr. Riddell started his career with a management position at an auto parts store, the first of many he managed in his lifetime.
"He loved his job," McGee said. "He was a salesman."
Mr. Riddell was passionate about supporting locally grown and made products, Myers said. It was almost impossible to find anything in his house that wasn't marked "Made in USA." He was also adamant about recycling. He loved everything to be neat, organized and clean.
"Gene was someone who always supported someone who is close to him," Myers said. "He felt we should help locally if we can rather than supporting somebody in another state or in another country he doesn't know."
Mr. Riddell loved to help Myers at her annual appreciation barbecue party, where he cooked for more than 100 people.
"It was his thing to do," Myers said. "He loved to grill."
Mr. Riddell is survived by his first wife, Sherry Lee of Columbia; two daughters, Robin Jean Cameron, and her husband, Jason, of Suffolk, England, and Samantha Jane Riddell of Columbia; his second wife, Lynne Brooks of Columbia; two sons, Matthew Owen Riddell of Auxvasse and Ashton Julius Lindsey of Columbia; his fiancee, Susan McGee of Columbia; two sisters, Deborah J. Bass of Auxvasse and Susan Myers, all of Columbia; a brother, Michael Riddell, of Keytesville; a stepsister, Victoria Stuart and her husband, Robert, of Clarksburg; five grandchildren, Alyssa Cameron, Zachary Cameron and Sydney Cameron, of Suffolk, England, and Aidan Brocksmith and Kiersten McCormack, of Columbia; and many nieces and nephews.
Mr. Riddell's parents died earlier. His father, Robert Eugene Riddell Sr., died July 10, 1997, and his mother, Betty Jean Bentlage Riddell Traxler, died March 17, 2008.
Memorial visitation will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6 at the Columbia Board of Realtors office at Interstate 70 Drive Northwest. The family plans to hold a memorial barbecue celebration of life later in the spring when his daughter Robin Cameron from England can attend.
Memorial contributions can be made for Mr. Riddell's son Ashton through JMJ Tax Accounting Services, at 2000 E. Broadway, Suite 280.
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